Raw steel production in the country’s Great Lakes region slumped to 652,000 tons last week, but overall U.S. steel production caught up to where it was at this point into 2013.
U.S. output fell by 0.9 percent in the week that ended Saturday, according to an American Iron and Steel Institute estimate. Domestic mills have however now produced an estimated 46.9 million tons of steel this year, roughly what they made during the same time frame last year.
Production lagged behind 2013 for much of the year after the polar vortex slowed down output during the winter, and Gary Works and ArcelorMittal Indiana Harbor East – two of the largest mills in the country – recently took blast furnaces offline for outages both planned and unplanned.
Last week, local production decreased by 13,000 tons, or 1.9 percent.
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, dropped to 651,000 tons, down from 657,000 tons a week earlier.
Total domestic raw steel production last week was about 1.86 million tons, down from 1.88 million tons a week earlier.
Nationally, domestic steel mills had a capacity utilization rate of 77.5 percent last week, down from 78.2 percent a week earlier. The capacity utilization rate had been 76.1 percent at the same time last year.
U.S. steel imports shot up by 7.4 percent in May over April, while imports of finished steel products rose by 6.4 percent, according to the American Iron and Steel Institute.
Imports reached 4 million net tons in May, 41.5 percent more than in May 2013, according to the American Institute for International Steel. Year-to-day imports rose to 17.5 million net tons, a 31.7 percent increase over the same period last year.
Source – nwitimes