U.S. steel mills shipped 8.27 million tons of steel in July, the most recent month for which data is available, according to Washington D.C.-based trade association the American Iron and Steel Institute.
That's a 37.2% increase as compared to the 6.03 million tons shipped in June and a 3.1% increase from the 8.03 million tons shipped in July 2020.
Steel shipments are a key metric of the financial health of the steel industry, as they reflect the amount of steel actually sold to customers, such as automakers, appliance manufacturers and service centers that process the steel for a wide variety of end uses.
Though the end of July, shipments of corrosion-resistant sheet and strip were up 23%, cold-rolled sheet 17% and hot-rolled sheet up 9%.
So far this year, steel mills in the United States have shipped 58.24 million tons of steel, up 14.5% as compared to the 47.25 million tons of steel shipped in the first seven months of 2020. Automotive plants, one of the largest customers of steel, have been suffering from intermittent shutdowns because of a global semiconductor shortage and may produce as many as a few million fewer vehicles this year, industry analysts project.
Though shipments are still down year-over-year, steel prices remain at record levels after Cleveland-Cliffs subsumed much of the American steel industry in the latest round of consolidation.
The price of hot-rolled band was up 3% to $2,069 a ton in July, according to the steel pricing website Steelbenchmarker. Cold-rolled coil increased 1% to $2,266 a ton, while standard plate rose 4% to $1,793 a ton.