Steel Products Prices North America

Steel Imports Declined by 17 Percent in 2019

Written by Tim Triplett

Steel imports into the United States in 2019, totaling 27.9 million tons, showed a decline of 17.3 percent versus 2018, and were at their lowest level since 2010 as the economy was recovering from the recession. Finished steel imports of 21.0 million tons were down 18.1 percent for the year. Finished steel imports held a 19 percent share of the U.S. market in 2019, down from 23 percent in 2018, reported the American Iron and Steel Institute, based on preliminary Census Bureau data.

For full-year 2019, the largest offshore suppliers were South Korea (2,576,000 net tons, down 7 percent versus 2018), Japan (1,242,000 tons, down 10 percent), Germany (1,048,000 tons, down 22 percent), Taiwan (828,000 tons, down 23 percent) and Vietnam (663,000 ton, down 40 percent).

Imports of semifinished steel (slabs, billets and ingots) totaled 6.8 million tons last year, a 14.5 percent decline from 2018. Sheet products, including galvanized, hot rolled, cold rolled and other metallics, saw declines ranging from 19.8 to 27.6 percent, leading most other product categories.

The total decline in imports in 2019 came on top of a 12 percent decline in 2018. The Trump administration imposed 25 percent tariffs on steel imports from most countries in the spring of 2018.

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