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Steel shipments fall 3.1% in November

A truck drives through the ArcelorMittal steel mill in Burns Harbor. 

Steel shipments fell 3.1% in November, the most recent month for which data is available, according to The American Iron and Steel Institute.

U.S. steel mills shipped 7.66 million tons of steel in November, as compared to 7.91 million tons in October. November's shipments also marked a 2.1% decline when compared to the 7.83 million tons of steel shipped during November of 2018.

Shipments are a key financial metric for the domestic steel industry, as they reflect the amount of steel actually sold. About half the nation's blast furnace capacity is concentrated along the Lake Michigan shoreline in Northwest Indiana.

In November, shipments of hot dipped galvanized sheets and strip declined by 4%, cold rolled sheets by 5% and hot rolled sheets by 7%, according to the Washington D.C.-based American Iron and Steel Institute.

Through the first 11 months of 2019, U.S. steel mills shipped 88.15 million tons of steel, a 0.8% increase as compared to shipments of 87.4 million tons during the first 11 months of 2018.

Steel prices started to tick up near the end of 2019.

The price of hot rolled band in the United States rose by 1% to $622 a ton in the week that ended Dec. 22, according to the steel pricing website SteelBenchmarker. The price of cold-rolled coil increased by 3% to $840 a ton, while the price of standard plate shot up by 12% to $849 a 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.