As the fallout from the coronavirus continues to affect the global economy, domestic raw steel production decreased for the third consecutive week according to information provided by Majestic Steel USA.
Production is now at its lowest point since December 2019. From the report:
U.S. mills produced an estimated 1,852k tons at a 79.4 percent utilization rate; this is down from 1,878k tons and an 80.5 percent rate previously. For the first time since mid-December 2019, US raw steel capability utilization fell below the 80 percent mark that mills strive for.
Expect a major slowdown over the next few weeks as domestic mills begin to idle furnaces and pull ahead maintenance to combat the slowing demand from the coronavirus shutdowns.
The largest decrease (in tons) in steel production is in Midwest region, dropping from 202k tons to 184k tons. Year-to-date production is now 0.14 percent below the same time frame from last year.
More important points from the report include:
Global steel production decreases
For the second consecutive month and for the fifth time in the last six months, global per/day steel production declined on a year over-year basis. February global steel production increased from January, however, climbing to 4.941 million metric tons/day. This was up 1.7 percent from January but down 0.8 percent from 4.979 mil- lion metric tons/day in February 2019.
February Chinese steel production was flat from January and up from February 2019. Chinese steel production totaled 2.578 million metric tons/day, up 1.4 percent from 2.544 million metric tons/day in February 2019. Year-to-date Chinese production is now up 3.1 percent from the same time frame last year. United States production was flat from January, coming in at 247 thousand metric tons/day in February. This was down slightly from 248 thousand metric tons/day in February 2019.
Carbon steel imports
After the jump in January, carbon steel imports declined to their lowest monthly total in over a decade in February. Total carbon steel imports totaled 1.106 million tons, down 53.6 percent from January and down 37.8 percent from February 2019. Carbon flat rolled imports declined as well, sliding to 424,684 tons in February. This is down 18.8 percent from January and down 6.0 percent from February 2019.
When looking on a year-over-year basis, to smooth volatility, imports of both cold rolled and coated products declined. Cold rolled imports led the way with a sharp 27.1 percent decline, while coated imports were down 1.4 percent. Hot rolled imports increased slightly, climbing 1.9 percent. Year-to-date flat rolled imports are now down 12.1 percent from the same time frame last year.