Steel production posts big 28,000-ton weekly gain

2014-03-04T12:00:00Z 2014-03-05T17:54:08Z Steel production posts big 28,000-ton weekly gainJoseph S. Pete joseph.pete@nwi.com, (219) 933-3316 nwitimes.com

Raw steel production in the country's Great Lakes region soared to 668,000 tons and overall U.S. output rose by 1.6 percent in the week that ended Saturday, according to an American Iron and Steel Institute estimate.

Great Lakes production rose by about 28,000, or about 4.3 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 640,000 tons, down from 647,000 tons a week earlier.

Total domestic raw steel production last week was about 1.86 million tons, up from 1.83 million tons a week earlier.

U.S. steel mills had a capacity utilization rate of 77.4 percent last week, up from 76.3 percent a week earlier. The capacity utilization rate had been 78.3 percent at the same time last year.

Domestic mills have produced an estimated 15.7 million tons of steel this year, a 1 percent decrease from the 15.8 million tons produced during the same period last year.

U.S. steel imports rose to 3.1 million net tons in January, a 26.6 percent increase over the same month last year, according to an American Iron and Steel Institute estimate. Finished steel imports, which would not need to be processed at American plants, rose 27.5 percent to 2.4 million net tons.

Finished steel imports grabbed an estimated 26 percent of the market share in January.

Imports of reinforcing bars skyrocketed by 168 percent in January. Wire rods roared to a 145 percent gain, while sheet and strip products were up 115 percent over January 2013.

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