Thursday, September 25, 2003

Ohio steel production up; gas, scrap costs eat gains

The Associated Press

YOUNGSTOWN - Ohio steel producers made and shipped more steel in the first half of this year than in the same period in 2002, but high energy and scrap prices offset the growth, a university reported.

The report compiled by the Center for Urban Studies at Youngstown State University shows Ohio's steel producers made 6.4 million tons in the first two quarters, up from 5.7 million tons made from January through June last year.

Steel shipments reflected a similar increase, with 6.8 million tons in the first half of this year, compared to 6.1 million tons in the first six months of 2002.

Middletown-based AK Steel, which produces most of its flat-rolled carbon, stainless and electrical steel in Ohio, shipped 2.76 million tons through the first half of this year compared with 2.94 million tons in the same period last year.

For all the state's producers, natural gas prices rose 78 percent in the first half, eating up a good percentage of increased sales revenue. The cost of steel scrap used in the making of new steel climbed 30 percent in the same period.

The report, based on statistics provided by Ohio's major steel makers, was compiled for the Ohio Steel Council, a public-private partnership designed to research and strengthen the state's steel industry.

Employment totaled 16,313, up 1.3 percent from a year ago, the university's report said.

Enquirer reporter Mike Boyer contributed to this report.

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