Steel Products Prices North America

Foreign Steel Imports: Below 2 Million Tons in September

Written by Brett Linton

Preliminary data for the full month of September, based on Commerce Department import licenses, shows that steel imports likely totaled less than 2 million tons last month. This is comparable to the final Census data for August, putting imports for the past two months at well below average.

One notable difference in September–estimated finished steel imports, at less than 1.6 million tons, were well below the 1.8 million tons in August and the average of 1.9 million tons over the past 12 months. With steel prices in the U.S. declining toward new lows for the year, buyers have little incentive to shop for better deals on imports.

Licenses for imports of semifinished steel in September saw a small uptick from August, but were still well below average. Imports of semifinished steels are expected to spike in October as domestic mills seek to secure the slabs they will need to finish the year. Some slab imports are subject to quarterly quotas, thus as the first month of the fourth quarter, October presents an important buying opportunity for a product that may be in short supply.

Imports were flat or down in almost every product category in September, based on the license data. See the chart below for more detail. 


Below are three graphs showing the history of U.S. steel imports through final August figures. To use their interactive features, view the graphs on our website by clicking here. If you need assistance logging into or navigating the website, contact us at

US Steel Imports

US Steel Imports

US Steel Imports

Brett Linton

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