Steel production rises by 24,000 tons in Great Lakes states

2013-11-05T12:15:00Z 2013-11-05T15:54:59Z Steel production rises by 24,000 tons in Great Lakes statesJoseph S. Pete joseph.pete@nwi.com, (219) 933-3316 nwitimes.com
November 05, 2013 12:15 pm  • 

Raw steel production in the country's Great Lakes region rose to 647,000 tons in the week that ended Saturday, according to an American Iron and Steel Institute estimate.

Production increased by about 24,000 tons, or about 3.8 percent, from the week prior, marking the first increase in three weeks. 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 643,000 tons, down from 665,000 tons a week earlier.

Total domestic raw steel production last week was about 1.83 million tons, up from 1.81 million tons a week prior.

U.S. steel mills had a capacity utilization rate of 76.5 percent last week, up from 75.8 percent a week earlier. The capacity utilization rate had been 68.6 percent at the same time last year.

So far this year, domestic steel producers have had a capacity utilization rate of 77.2 percent, which is up from 76.1 percent during the same period in 2012.

Domestic mills have produced an estimated 81.3 million tons of steel this year, down 2.1 percent from the same period last year. The mills had made about 83.1 million tons of steel by Nov. 2, 2012.

Steel imports declined by 4.1 percent in September, as compared to August, according to the American Institute for International Steel.

"Steel imports declined in September, reflecting the generally sluggish economy as coincident imports from our NAFTA partners led the decline in imports from August," said David Phelps, AIIS president.

Imports were down by 7 percent during the first nine months of 2013, as compared to the same period last year.

"The U.S. economy remains in a weakened condition at the end of the third quarter as reflected in the lower level of steel imports in 2013," he said. "Recent price increases across especially flat-rolled product lines have improved domestic mill conditions and import ordering, but the improvement is probably more inventory-related than reflective of an improvement in underlying demand. Until non-residential construction demand improves significantly, there appears little reason to conclude that the steel market will return to healthy levels of domestic shipments and imports."

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