Steel

STEEL: Automotive sales, construction key for steel industry

Times Board of Economists - Report from Susan Zlajic, manager of government affairs at ArcelorMittal USA Inc.
2014-05-04T00:00:00Z 2014-05-04T07:52:08Z STEEL: Automotive sales, construction key for steel industryJoseph S. Pete joseph.pete@nwi.com, (219) 933-3316 nwitimes.com

Demand for steel was relatively flat in the United States in 2013, but AcrelorMittal is expecting a 4 percent increase in demand and shipments this year.

"We're cautiously optimistic," said Susan Zlajic, manager of government affairs at ArcelorMittal USA Inc.

Automotive sales, which drive a lot of the demand for steel, sagged in January and February because of the harsh weather, Zlajic said. But automakers still expect to make 16.1 million units this year, which would be a boon for Northwest Indiana's steel mills.

"I would encourage everyone to purchase a car today," she said.

A rebound in construction is important, since the American Iron and Steel Institute estimates it accounts for 40 percent of the overall demand for steel, Zlajic said.

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