Raw steel production at America's steel mills slipped 14,000 tons for the week ending Oct. 9 compared to a week earlier.

Domestic steel mills produced 1,858,000 net tons of raw steel for the week ending Oct. 9, according to the American Iron & Steel Institute, down from 1,872,000 net tons produced a week earlier.

Steel mills also operated at lower rates compared to the previous week.

Mills operated at an 84.2 percent capability utilization rate for the week ending Oct. 9 compared to 84.8 percent for the week ending Oct. 2.

The capability utilization rate is a measure of steel mill operating rates.

Raw steel production for the year was 73,267,000 net tons through Oct. 9 at a capability utilization rate of 81.2 percent. That compares to 60,931,000 net tons produced during the same period in 2020 at a 67.1 percent capability utilization rate. 

Northeastern Minnesota's six taconite plants produce iron ore pellets. The iron-containing pellets are shipped to steel mills to make steel.

Domestic steel prices remain strong with cold-rolled steel at nearly $2,300 per metric ton and hot-rolled band at $2,105 per ton.

However, the price for iron ore on the world market has dropped dramatically recent weeks.

An all-time high of $229.50 per metric ton of iron ore was reached in May. The current price is about$120 per metric ton.

A shortage of power in China, forcing a large number of Chinese steel mills to cut back on production, has contributed to the decline in world iron ore pricing.