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Steel shipments up 6.5 percent in August

An ArcelorMittal senior engineer uses chalk to test the smoothness of a steel sheet in the hot dip galvanizing line cooling tower at the Burns Harbor plant in 2011.

Steel shipments rose 6.5 percent year-over-year in August, according to the American Iron and Steel Institute.

The Washington D.C.-based trade group reported steel mills in the United States shipped 8.4 million tons of steel in August, as compared to 7.92 million tons in August 2017. It also was a 6.7 percent increase as compared to the 7.91 million tons U.S. mills shipped in July.

So far this year, steel mills in the United States have shipped 63.6 million tons, or 4.6 percent more than the 60.8 million tons shipped in the first eight months of 2017. Shipments are a critical indicator of the steel industry's financial health, since they reflect the amount of steel actually sold to customers.

In August, shipments of hot dipped galvanized sheets were up by 11 percent, hot rolled sheets by 3 percent and cold rolled sheets by 3 percent.

Shipments remain robust but steel prices have been falling in the United States. Hot rolled steel dropped to $853 per ton the week of Oct. 8, down from $872 two weeks earlier down from the recent peak of $912 per ton in July, according to the steel pricing website SteelBenchmarker.

Cold-rolled steel is currently selling for $933 a ton and standard plate for $1,033 a ton, SteelBenchmarker reported.

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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.