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Steel shipments soar by 10.3 percent in March

Steel coils await shipment at the Port of Indiana Burns Harbor. 

U.S. steel shipments in March soared to 8.2 million tons, or 10.3 percent more than the previous month.

March shipments also were up 7.9 percent over the 7.6 million tons U.S. steel mills shipped in March 2017, according to the American Iron and Steel Institute.

So far this year, domestic steel mills have shipped 23.4 million tons of steel, about 3.7 percent more than the 22.6 million tons shipped during the first three months of the previous year. Steel shipments are a crucial metric for the steel industry since they reflect the amount of steel actually sold to customers.

In March, shipments of hot rolled sheets were up 12 percent, hot dipped galvanized sheets and strip were up 11 percent, and cold rolled sheets were up 10 percent, according to the Washington D.C.-based trade association.

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U.S. steel production has risen 1.7 percent to 31.5 million tons so far this year, according to the American Iron and Steel Institute. 

Domestic steelmakers such as ArcelorMittal USA and U.S. Steel, two of Northwest Indiana's largest employers, are enjoying higher shipments and rising prices.

SteelBenchmarker, a steel market intelligence service, reported that hot-rolled band prices in the United States rose to $866 per net ton in April, up from $854 two weeks earlier and from the recent low of $412 in December 2015.

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Business Reporter

Joseph S. Pete is a Lisagor Award-winning business reporter who covers steel, industry, unions, the ports, retail, banking and more. The Indiana University grad has been with The Times since 2013 and blogs about craft beer, culture and the military.