Great Lakes steel production shoots up by 26,000 tons

2014-05-13T12:00:00Z 2014-05-13T15:59:17Z Great Lakes steel production shoots up by 26,000 tonsJoseph S. Pete joseph.pete@nwi.com, (219) 933-3316 nwitimes.com

Raw steel production in the country's Great Lakes region rose to 634,000 tons, and overall U.S. output increased by 1.5 percent in the week that ended Saturday, according to an American Iron and Steel Institute estimate.

Great Lakes production shot up by 26,000, or 4.27 percent, but remained lower than normal. Steel production dropped by more 100,000 tons in early April the after U.S. Steel idled blast furnaces at Gary Works, the nation's largest steel mill, because of difficulty bringing raw materials across the icy Great Lakes.

Last year, Great Lakes steel production was typically in the range of 650,000 to 700,000 tons a week.

Most of the raw steel production in the Great Lakes region takes place in Indiana and the Chicago area.

Production in the Southern District, typically the country's second biggest steel-producing region, ticked up to 653,000 tons, up from 651,000 tons a week earlier.

Total domestic raw steel production last week was about 1.84 million tons, up from 1.82 million tons a week earlier.

U.S. steel mills had a capacity utilization rate of 76.6 percent last week, up from 75.5 percent a week earlier. The capacity utilization rate had been 76.5 percent at the same time last year.

Domestic mills have produced an estimated 33.9 million tons of steel this year, a 0.8 percent decrease from the 34.1 million tons produced during the same period last year.

U.S. steel mills shipped 8.3 million net tons in March, a 9.4 percent increase over February and a 5.2 percent increase over last year. Year-to-date shipments have reached 23.8 million net tons, a 1.2 percent increase over the first three months of last year.

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