Steel Products Prices North America

AISI: Steel Imports Down Over 10 Percent this Year

Written by Tim Triplett

U.S. tariffs on steel imports appear to be having the expected effect. Two-thirds of the way through a year when the economy and steel demand are booming, imports are down by double digits.

Citing preliminary Census Bureau data, the American Iron and Steel Institute reports that the United States imported 23,839,000 net tons of steel in the first eight months of the year, a decrease of 10.4 percent compared with the same period in 2017. Of that amount, finished steel imports totaled 18,208,000 net tons, 11 percent less than last year.

When that figure is annualized, it shows that imports year to date have averaged an estimated 24 percent share of the finished steel market in the U.S. In August, the import share of the finished steel market was an estimated 21 percent, suggesting that the import share is on the decline.

The largest offshore steel suppliers to the U.S. in the first eight months were: South Korea (2,101,000 net tons, down 20 percent vs. the same period in 2017), Japan (974,000 tons, down 9 percent), Germany (870,000 tons, up 2 percent), Turkey (840,000 tons, down 54 percent) and Taiwan (740,000 tons, down 18 percent).

Some products have seen an increase in imports this year, according to the Census data. Key products with significant year-to-date increases in imports include plates in coils (up 21 percent) and hot rolled sheets (up 18 percent).

In the month of August, the U.S. imported 2,966,000 net tons of steel, down 0.8 percent from July. August finished steel imports of 2,010,000 tons were down 8.1 percent from the prior month.

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