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American steel production rises by 4.5 percent in July

Gary Works in Gary. U.S. steel production rose by 4.5 percent last month.

The United States produced 7.3 million tons of steel in July, up 4.5 percent year-over-year.

American steel production was again less than a tenth of what China made last month. The Chinese steel industry cranked out 81.2 million tons of steel in July, up 7.2 percent as compared to July of 2017, according to the World Steel Association. Japan also eclipsed the United States in steel production, though Japanese steel output fell 2 percent to 8.4 million tons last month.

The Brussels, Belgium-based trade World Steel Association reported that the 64 steel-producing countries around the globe cranked out 154.6 million tons of steel in July, a 5.8 percent year-over-year increase. They operated at a capacity utilization rate of 77.5 percent, which was 1.4 percentage points lower than in June but 3.8 percentage points higher than in July of last year.

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Industry analysts say a 90 percent capacity utilization rate is considered financially healthy for the industry, particularly with the larger integrated mills like those that line Northwest Indiana's Lake Michigan lakeshore.

In July, steel production rose by 11.4 percent in the Ukraine, 6.7 percent in Brazil and 0.1 percent in South Korea, according to the World Steel Association. It dropped 2.3 percent to 3.3 million tons in Turkey.

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Business Reporter

Joseph S. Pete is a Lisagor Award-winning business reporter who covers steel, industry, unions, the ports, retail, banking and more. The Indiana University grad has been with The Times since 2013 and blogs about craft beer, culture and the military.