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Steel shipments rise 6 percent year-over-year in October

The ArcelorMittal Indiana Harbor steel mill. Steel shipments have risen by 4.6 percent through the first 10 months of the year.

Steel shipments rose 6 percent year-over-year in October, according to the American Iron and Steel Institute.

American steel mills, including the hulking integrated mills along the Lake Michigan shoreline in Northwest Indiana, shipped 8.1 million tons of steel in October, which was up 4.6 percent from the 7.8 million tons shipped in September. It was an even more dramatic improvement over the 7.7 million tons shipped the previous October.

Shipments are a key metric of the financial health of the U.S. steel industry since they reflect the amount of steel actually sold to customers.

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So far this year, U.S. steel mills have shipped 79.6 million tons of steel, according to the AISI. That’s up 4.6 percent from 76.1 million tons shipped during the first 10 months of 2017.

In October, shipments of cold-rolled sheets rose by 7 percent and hot dipped galvanized sheets and strip by 4 percent. There was no change in shipments of hot-rolled sheets as compared to the same period in 2017.

Steel prices surged for much of the year with the across-the-board Section 232 tariffs of 25 percent on all foreign-made steel that have caused imports to fall by more than 10 percent this year. After an extended period of softening, hot-rolled steel coil prices have finally dipped back below $800 a ton, according to Platts.

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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.