Steel production cools off, slides by 7,000 tons

2014-03-11T12:00:00Z 2014-03-11T17:02:12Z Steel production cools off, slides by 7,000 tonsJoseph S. Pete joseph.pete@nwi.com, (219) 933-3316 nwitimes.com

Raw steel production in the country's Great Lakes region slowed to 661,000 tons and overall U.S. output dipped by 1.1 percent in the week that ended Saturday, according to an American Iron and Steel Institute estimate.

Great Lakes production declined by 7,000, or about 1 percent, from the week prior. 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, fell to 631,000 tons, down from 640,000 tons a week earlier.

Total domestic raw steel production last week was about 1.84 million tons, down from 1.86 million tons a week earlier.

U.S. steel mills had a capacity utilization rate of 76.5 percent last week, down from 77.4 percent a week earlier. The capacity utilization rate had been 76.2 percent at the same time last year.

Domestic mills have produced an estimated 17.5 million tons of steel this year, a 0.8 percent decrease from the 17.7 million tons produced during the same period last year.

Steel exports rose by 10.5 percent in January over December, according to the American Institute for International Steel. Despite the month-over-month increase, exports were down 10.6 percent as compared to January 2013.

"The stronger showing in January over December is due to improved export tonnages to our NAFTA partners,"  said American Institute for International Steel Executive Director Richard Chriss. "With the exception of exports to the EU, the other smaller export markets posted another negative month. While the improvement in exports in January is a positive sign, the comparison with January 2013 is not encouraging – exports declined to all our regional markets, including NAFTA."

  

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