Foreign firms boost steel production

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Steel production averaged 228,000 tonnes a week last year, almost a quarter higher than in the previous 12 months.

Trade association UK Steel said the increase was largely due to the continued rise in output from the Teesside steelworks, now owned by the Thai company SSI, which has been investing to increase the plant’s capacity, as well as higher output from Tata Steel’s Port Talbot plant following the rebuilding of a blast furnace last year.

Ian Rodgers, director of UK Steel, said: “The size of the increase is not reflective of the state of the UK market as, to a large extent, this increased output relates to the captive sales of semi-finished steel by the Teesside plant to its parent in Thailand.

“Nevertheless, it was heartening that 2013 ended on a strong note, with Q4 output at the highest quarterly level since the start of the recession.

“This suggests that UK demand for steel has now turned the corner.

“However, it remains well below the 2007 peak and the recovery in UK steel demand continues to be weak and patchy.”