The total tonnage for the week ending August 10th was 1,867 million tons, (Mt) at a capacity utilization rate of 80.2%. The year to date tonnage output is 60,710 Mt, at an average capacity utilization rate of 81.4%. In 2018, the same output total was 56,769 Mt at 75.9%.

­­uscap-fig1Figure 1 shows production on the left-hand scale and capacity utilization as a percent on the right-hand scale. Capacity utilization and production tapered off at the end of the year as is typical for November and December.

Figure 2 uscap-fig2presents a map of the U.S. with its five steel producing zones. The nation as a whole produced 7.0% more steel than for the same period in 2018. The Great Lakes region was the largest steel producing region, with 22.752 Mt through August 10th, up 7.4% y/y. The Southern region habitually the second largest, produced 22.525 Mt up 7.5% y/y.  At 6.749 Mt, the Northeast region ranked third largest. The Northeast tonnage moved-down slightly by 0.6% y/y. The Midwest produced 6.37 Mt, up 17.6% y/y, while the Western zone produced 2.357 Mt, up 0.1% y/y.

Looking at raw steel production on a twelve-month moving total, (12MMT) basis, we see that; The Great Lakes region produced 36,651 Mt, up 7.1% y/y. The Southern zone made 36,286 Mt, up 7.6% y/y. The Northeast region produced 11,117 Mt for a 2.6% increase y/y. The Midwest generated 10,354 Mt, up 19.4% y/y. The Western region produced 3,990 Mt, up 5.7% on a y/y basis. Total U.S. production, (12MMT) was 98,398 Mt, up 7.9% y/y.

At Gerdau, we track US steel production and capacity utilization to keep an eye on the overall health of the US steel industry. We feel it is important to understand the forces that influence steel demand to include the strength of the US economy and import penetration.