NEW YORK "Minor" unplanned outages led to a drop in first-quarter crude steel production at Evraz Plcs North American operations, the company said, although it expects to reach its targeted output in the second quarter as "technical issues" at the steelmakers plants have now been resolved.
Crude steel production fell 8 percent to 561,000 tonnes in the first quarter compared with the same year-ago period, the London-based steelmaker said April 18, while finished steel output at its U.S. operations improved 7.7 percent to 717,000 tonnes in the same comparison due to continued high utilization rates.
Tubular production showed the sharpest gain, rising 12.1 percent year on year to 231,000 tonnes, while flat-rolled steel rose 7.7 percent to 281,000 tonnes and railway products gained 4.3 percent to 122,000 tonnes, the company said.
On a sequential basis, flat-rolled steel output was up 31.3 percent from 214,000 tonnes due to an improvement in order books, consistent with the companys expectations (amm.com, Jan. 18).
First-quarter tubular production fell 5.7 percent compared with the fourth quarter due to lower spiral-weld and line pipe sales, although the lull is expected to be temporary, according to Evraz, which owns Chicago-based Evraz Inc. North America.
However, it added that overall tubular production volumes could be crimped in the second quarter due to lower drilling activity in Canada and increases imports in North America.
Average selling prices for all of Evrazs products fell during the quarter compared with the same period last year, with average flat-rolled prices notching an 18-percent drop to $876 per tonne from $1,068 per tonne.
First-quarter selling prices for construction products fell 14 percent to $794 per tonne, railway product prices dropped 11.8 percent to $934 per tonne and average tubular tags receded 11.4 percent to $1,387 per tonne compared with the same period last year, Evraz said.
Price performance on a sequential basis was mixed, with construction products rising 4.5 percent and railway products showing a modest 1.1-percent gain due to higher scrap prices. Meanwhile, flat-rolled products fell 3.3 percent and tubulars dropped 2.5 percent in the same comparison, the company said.
Oil country tubular goods products saw some pricing pressure due to overcapacity, higher import levels and "relatively" high distributor inventory levels, Evraz added.