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Steel shipments rise 5.2 percent in May

The blast furnace sculpture in downtown Gary, across from the Gary Works steel mill. Steel shipments have risen by 4.2 percent this year.

Steel shipments rose 5.2 percent year-over-year in May and are up 4.2 percent so far this year, as compared to the same period in 2017, according to the American Iron and Steel Institute.

In May, the most recent month for which data is available, steel mills in the United States shipped 8 million tons of steel, up 3.3 percent from the previous month and 5.2 percent from May of 2017. Steel shipments are a key metric of the financial health of the steel industry since they reflect the amount of metal sold to customers.

Hot rolled sheet shipments rose 6 percent and hot dipped galvanized sheets and strip increased by 3 percent in May, while shipments of cold rolled sheets remained unchanged.

So far this year, steel mills in the U.S. have shipped 39.3 million tons of steel products, a 4.2 percent jump over the 37.7 tons shipped during the first five months of 2017.

The Section 232 tariffs of 25 percent on foreign-made steel have led to a decline in imports, which were down 3.7 percent in May and 7.4 percent so far this year, according to the AISI. 

Steel prices have accordingly been climbing. The SteelBenchmarker pricing website estimates hot-rolled band prices in the United States climbed for the 16th straight week at the end of June, climbing 1.8 percent week-over-week to $1,000 per ton.

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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.