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Steel shipments rise by 2.9% year-over-year

A U.S. Steel hot strip mill. Steel shipments rose by 2.9% through the end of March.

Steel shipments rose by 2.9% in March, according to the American Iron and Steel Institute.

Steel mills in the United States shipped 8.32 million tons in March, a 7.5%-increase as compared to the 7.74 million tons the previous month, according to the Washington D.C.-based trade association. It was up 0.3% as compared to the 8.2 million tons shipped in March 2018.

Shipments are a key metric of the financial health of the steel industry since they reflect the amount of steel actually sold to paying customers.

So far this year, domestic mills have shipped 24.1 million tons of steel, up 2.9% as compared to the 23.4 million shipped during the first three months of 2018.

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In March, shipments of hot dipped, galvanized sheets and strip rose by 9%, hot rolled sheets by 8% and cold rolled sheets by 6%, according to AISI.

Though down from their peak last summer after the Section 232 tariffs of 25% on all foreign-made steel were first imposed, steel prices have been holding steady as of late.

Hot-rolled steel prices remained flat at $776 a ton in the United States last month, according to the steel pricing website SteelBenchmarker. The price of cold-rolled coil in the United States was unchanged at $919 a ton, while the price of standard plate declined by 2% to $1,052 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.