Steel Products Prices North America

Final July Steel Imports Near 2.7 Million Tons

Written by Brett Linton

Recently released Census data shows final July steel imports totaled 2.70 million net tons, up 93 percent from June due to the quarterly reset on semifinished import quotas. This final July figure is just 5,995 tons higher than the preliminary import figures SMU reported one week ago.

Finished imports in July totaled 1.43 million tons, up 7 percent from June, but down 5 percent from May figures. Imports of semifinished products (mostly slabs) were 1.27 million tons in July, up from just 69,000 tons the month prior.

August import licenses are currently at 1.39 million tons, with 108,000 tons being semifinished and 1.29 million tons being finished products.

Note: The January, June, 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 August 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.

Note: OCTG imports are at the lowest level seen since December 2015, cold rolled imports have not been this low since July 2013, and imports of plates in coils are at their lowest since February 2011.

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