Manufacturing activity in the South of the United States has helped raise smelter utilization in the United States to its highest level since 2008.
According to the American Iron and Steel Institute (AISI), capacity utilization at US steel mills rose to 83.6% in the week ended July 10, the highest level since the week ended September 22, 2008.
Interestingly, the September 2008 record for US metallurgical capacity utilization was recorded at a time when the global economy was already in recession, and US utilization dropped to a low of 33.5% just three months later.
The capacity utilization rate recorded on July 10 rose from 83% in the previous week and was more than 23 percentage points higher than in the same period in 2020, when the US economy was recovering from plant shutdowns related to Covid-19 in the first half of 2020. Capacity utilization hit a recession low of 51.1% for the week ending May 2, 2020.
The annual capacity utilization in the first half of 2021 was 79.2%, significantly higher than the 67.7% utilization recorded in the same period in 2020. US plants produced 48.75 million tonnes of steel in January-June 2021, up 17% year-on-year.