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Steel shipments fall 5.2% in June

A bar of steel makes its way through the 80" hot strip mill at ArcelorMittal Indiana Harbor in East Chicago on its way to becoming a coil of steel.

Steel mills across the United States shipped 7.71 million tons of steel in June, according to the American Iron and Steel Institute.

That was down 5.2% as compared to the 8.1 million tons of steel shipped in May and a 3.4% decline from the 7.9 million tons shipped in June of 2008, according to the Washington D.C.-based trade association that represents 18 of the largest steelmakers based in America. Shipments are a key metric of financial health for the steel industry because they reflect the amount of steel actually sold to customers like service centers, automakers and appliance manufacturers.

So far this year, steel mills in Northwest Indiana and across the country have shipped 48.2 million tons of steel, a 1.9% increase as compared to the 47.3 million tons that were shipped during the first six months of last year.

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In June, shipments of hot-dipped galvanized sheets and strip rose by 2%, according to the American Iron and Steel Institute. Shipments of cold-rolled sheets declined by 5% during the same period, while shipments of hot-rolled sheets were down by 6%.

Steel prices in the United States have been declining since last fall despite the Section 232 tariffs of 25% on most foreign-made steel. But they have been starting to tick up as of late. The steel pricing website SteelBenchmarker reports that hot-rolled band prices rose 1% last months to $631 a ton in the United States. 

Cold-rolled coil prices rose by 2% to $800 a ton, while standard plant shot up by 12% to $955 a ton, according to SteelBenchmarker.

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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.