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Steel shipments plunge 14.7%

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Steel shipments plunge 14.7%

A U.S. Steel hot strip mill is shown. 

Steel shipments fell at 14.7% year-over-year in October, the most recent month for which data was available.

U.S. steel mills shipped a total of 6.74 million tons in October, down nearly 15% as compared to 7.91 million tons in October of 2019, but up 1.3% as compared to 6.74 million tons the previous month, according to the Washington D.C.-based American Iron and Steel Institute trade association.

In October as compared to September, shipments of hot dipped galvanized sheet and strip were up 3%, cold rolled sheet by 3% and hot rolled sheet by 2%.

Shipments are a key metric of the financial health of the steel industry, as they reflect the amount of metal steelmakers have sold to customers.

Thus far this year, steel mills in the United States have shipped 67.19 million net tons, down 16.5% year-over-year as compared to the 80.49 million tons shipped through the first 10 months of 2019.

Steel prices continue to rise as market conditions improve. The price of hot rolled band rose 4% to $789 a ton, according to the steel pricing website SteelBenchmarker. The price of cold-rolled coil rose 3% to $973 a ton while standard plate was up 6% to $773 a ton.

Steel prices have rebounded dramatically since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic. In April, hot-rolled band cost $577 a ton, cold-rolled coil $749 a ton, and standard plate $693 a ton, according to SteelBenchmarker.

Gallery: U.S. Steel's long history in the Region

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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.

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