Hike in UK steel output

Britain's steel industry has seen increased output in the first half of the year, according to newly released figures from UK Steel.

According to the data, steel output in the second quarter of the year averaged 231,000 tonnes a week, 10% higher than the first three months (210,000 tonnes a week) and 11% higher than the same quarter last year (208,000 tonnes a week).

UK Steel, a division of the manufacturers' organisation EEF, said this was the highest quarterly level since the last three months of 2009, when output also averaged 231,000 tonnes a week.

Commenting on the figures, UK Steel director Ian Rodgers said the improvement had been mainly driven by increasing output from SSI's Teesside steelworks which was largely geared towards supplying export markets, and in particular to meeting the needs for semi-finished steel of its Thai owners.

But he added: "While this is good news both for Britain's balance of payments, and for the economy of the North East, it can't be allowed to hide the fact that closer to home, steel markets remain depressed in both the UK and the rest of Europe."

Laura Hopperton

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