Steel shipments rise 5.8 percent in January

Steel rolls past a temperature control system at the top of the hot dip galvanizing cooling tower at ArcelorMittal Burns Harbor. Steel shipments rose 5.8 percent year-over-year in January.

Steel shipments rose 5.8 percent year-over-year in January, according to the American Iron and Steel Institute.

The Washington D.C.-based industry association reported that steel mills in the United States shipped 8 million tons in January, which was 3.5 million more than the 7.8 million tons shipped in December and 5.8 percent more than the 7.6 million tons shipped in January 2018.

Steel shipments are a key metric of the health of the U.S. steel industry because they reflect the amount of steel actually sold to paying customers.

In January, shipments of cold-rolled sheet rose by 7 percent as compared to December, hot-dipped galvanized sheet and strip by 5 percent, and hot-rolled sheets by 3 percent, according to the AISI.

The steel industry continues to recover with rising shipments and higher prices.

“The administration’s trade actions and tax and regulatory reform policies, in addition to the strong economic climate enabled by those policies, have allowed the American steel industry to begin to recover after more than a decade of low capacity utilization and weaker earnings due to repeated surges in imports fueled by global steel overcapacity," American Iron and Steel Institute President and CEO Thomas Gibson said. "Capacity utilization at existing mills has increased in recent months to over 80 percent — levels not seen in the last 10 years. Some shuttered plants are being re-opened, laid-off workers are going back to work and companies are making investments in new steel production facilities."

Market intelligence service Steel Benchmarker reported that the price of hot-rolled band in the United States held steady at $773 per net ton in February. The price of cold-rolled coil fell one percent to $897 per net ton and the price of standard plate declined 1 percent to $1,090 per net ton.


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.