Steel Products Prices North America

Final May Steel Imports at 1.8 Million Tons, June Licenses at 2.0 Million

Written by Brett Linton

Recently released Census data shows final May steel imports totaled 1.80 million net tons, down 35.1 percent from April, but up 2.8 percent over March, according to the U.S. Department of Commerce. The final May figure is just 9,700 tons higher than the preliminary May import figures SMU reported in late June.

Finished imports in May totaled 1.50 million tons, up 13.6 percent over the previous month, but down 1.3 percent over March. Imports of semifinished products (mostly slabs) were nearly 300,000 tons in May. This contrasts with April when semifinished imports were at 1.45 million tons as the quarterly quotas for those products had reset and is comparable to March semifinished imports at 227,000 tons and February at 151,000 tons.

June import licenses are currently at 2.01 million tons, with nearly 570,000 tons being semifinished and 1.44 million tons being finished products.

Note: The January, April, July and October import figures are unusually high as a result of buyers seeking to max out quarterly quota limits on semifinished products. For the remainder of each quarter, final semifinished imports are significantly lower. Due to these month-to-month swings, SMU has ceased monthly import “trending” projections and now only shows unadjusted figures as reported by the Commerce Department. As shown in the figure below, finished steel import levels are much less volitile and more accurately display the U.S. steel import trend month-to-month.

The three graphics below show total steel imports through June license data. To provide the most clarity, we are only showing a limited time line in each graphic. To see a greater data history and utilize our interactive graphing features, you can visit our website. Contact us at if you have any questions.

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