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Steel shipments fall in May

Steel coil stacked at ArcelorMittal Burns Harbor.

Steel mills in the United States shipped 8.13 million tons of steel in May, which was down 0.8% as compared to the 8.21 million tons shipped in April, according to the American Iron and Steel Institute.

Shipments were still up 1.1% year-over-year, as compared to the 8 million tons shipped in May 2018.

Shipments are a key metric of the health of the steel industry since they reflect the amount of metal actually sold to customers. In May, shipments of hot-rolled sheets fell 1%, hot-dipped galvanized sheets and strip 2% and cold-rolled sheets by 4%.

Through the first five months of the year, U.S. steel mills have shipped 40.5 million tons, according to the Washington D.C.-based American Iron and Steel Institute trade association. That's up 3% over the 39.3 million tons shipped during the first five months of 2018.

Steel prices continue to slide.

The steel pricing website Steel Benchmarker reported that hot-rolled band prices in the United States fell 6% last month to $575 a net ton. Priceses fell 3% to $713 a net ton for cold-rolled coil, and 3% to $870 a net ton for standard plate.

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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.