Steel production plunges by 49,000 tons in Great Lakes states

2013-12-24T12:00:00Z Steel production plunges by 49,000 tons in Great Lakes statesJoseph S. Pete joseph.pete@nwi.com, (219) 933-3316 nwitimes.com
December 24, 2013 12:00 pm  • 

Raw steel production in the country's Great Lakes region nose-dived to 636,000 tons in the week that ended Saturday, according to an American Iron and Steel Institute estimate.

Production fell by about 49,000 tons, or about 7.15 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 was estimated at 560,000 tons, down from 583,000 tons a week earlier.

Total domestic raw steel production last week was about 1.73 million tons, which was down from about 1.81 million tons a week earlier.

U.S. steel mills had a capacity utilization rate of 72.3 percent last week, down from 75.9 percent a week earlier. The capacity utilization rate had been 71.7 percent at the same time last year.

So far this year, domestic steel producers have had a capacity utilization rate of 77 percent, which is up from 75.2 percent during the same period in 2012.

Domestic mills have produced an estimated 94 million tons of steel this year, down 1.4 percent from the same period last year. The mills had made about 95.4 million tons of steel by Dec. 21, 2012.

October steel shipments rose 5.3 percent to 8.2 million net tons, as compared to 7.8 million tons in September, according to the American Iron and Steel Institute. Hot dip galvanized sheets and strip posted the biggest gains out of any steel products.

Overall, October shipments from U.S. mills were up by 11 percent over the same period in 2012, but the year-to-date shipments are down 1.1 percent compared to the first 10 months of last year.

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