Great Lakes steel production ticks up slightly

2014-04-15T12:00:00Z 2014-04-15T14:50:28Z Great Lakes steel production ticks up slightlyJoseph S. Pete joseph.pete@nwi.com, (219) 933-3316 nwitimes.com

Raw steel production in the country's Great Lakes region inched up slightly to 569,000 tons, and overall U.S. output rose by 1.3 percent in the week that ended Saturday, according to an American Iron and Steel Institute estimate.

Great Lakes production ticked up by 4,000, or 0.7 percent, but remained well under its normal level. Steel production plummeted by 107,000 tons over the previous two weeks when U.S. Steel idled blast furnaces at Gary Works, the nation's largest steel mill.

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, surged to 671,000 tons, up from 657,000 tons a week earlier.

Total domestic raw steel production last week was about 1.78 million tons, up from 1.76 million tons a week earlier.

U.S. steel mills had a capacity utilization rate of 74.2 percent last week, up from 73.3 percent a week earlier. The capacity utilization rate had been 76.7 percent at the same time last year.

Domestic mills have produced an estimated 26.6 million tons of steel this year, a 0.8 percent increase from the 26.8 million tons produced during the same period last year.

Steel permit applications in March rose to 3.48 million net tons, a 7 percent increase over February. Import permit tonnage for finished steel was up 11 percent in March over January.

The estimated finished steel import market share was 25 percent, and has been 25 percent so far this year.

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