Steel Products Prices North America

July Preliminary Steel Imports Surpass 3 Million Tons, 18-Month High

Written by Brett Linton

Preliminary Census data shows that total foreign steel imports increased 3% from June to July, reaching 3.01 million tons. This is now the highest monthly import level of 2021, surpassing the previous month. The last time monthly import levels exceeded this rate was January 2020 when 3.16 million tons of steel entered the country. August import licenses are currently at 2.43 million tons as of Aug. 30, a 19% decline from July and down 17% compared to June. 

Total finished imports are preliminarily at 2.14 million tons in July, which would be the highest level seen since January 2019 when they reached 2.46 million tons. Finished steel import licenses for August are currently at 1.87 million tons.

Due to large month-to-month swings in semifinished imports, the chart below shows total monthly imports on a three-month moving average (3MMA) basis in an attempt to more accurately display U.S. steel import trends. The 3MMA through preliminary July data is 2.82 million tons, up from 2.70 million tons in June and up from 2.49 million tons in May. July marks the highest 3MMA import level seen since October 2018 when it was 2.86 million tons. The lowest 3MMA level in our recent history was October 2020 at 1.36 million tons. Looking at August license data, the August 3MMA is currently at 2.79 million tons.

The table below displays flat rolled product imports as well as other high-volume products, including rebar, tin plate, wire rod, structural pipe and tube, and other long products. We also provide data on categorized imports divided into semifinished, finished, flat rolled, longs, pipe and tube, and stainless products.

The two charts below show monthly imports grouped by product category: flat rolled imports and pipe and tube imports. Flat rolled imports surged to a multi-year high in July to 1.17 million tons, with the latest August license data showing 1.03 million tons coming into the country. Pipe and tube imports slipped to 369,000 tons in July, while August licenses are currently at 383,000 tons.

By Brett Linton,

Brett Linton

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