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U.S. steel production falls by 2.2 percent in January

Shown are steelmaking facilities at ArcelorMittal Burns Harbor.

The United States made an estimated 6.8 million tons of steel in January, a 2.2 percent year-over-year decline, according to the World Steel Association.

Overall, the 64 steelmaking countries that report to the Brussels-based trade association, which represents more than 160 steelmakers across the globe, produced 139.4 million tons of steel in January, a 0.8 percent year-over-year increase. The steel industry operated at a capacity utilization ratio of 70 percent in January, which was 0.2 percentage points lower than in January 2017 but was 0.7 percentage points higher than December.

China produced 67 million tons in January, nearly 10 times more than United States but 0.9 percent less than it did a year earlier.

Japan made 9 million tons of steel last month, a 0.3 percent year-over-year increase, according to the World Steel Association. India also produced 9 million tons in January, a 2.5 percent year-over-year increase.

Steel output rose year-over-year by 7.6 percent in Turkey, 5.3 percent in Italy, 3 percent in France and 1.3 percent in Brazil last month.

Other than the United States, Spain was the only other major steelmaking country to post a decline in production in January. Spain made 1.1 million tons of steel last month, down 1 percent from January 2016.

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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.