Steel Products Prices North America

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

Written by Brett Linton

Final Census data shows that total foreign steel imports increased 5% from June to July, reaching 3.08 million tons. As stated in our preliminary import analysis, 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 2.61 million tons as of Sept. 6, down 15% compared to July and down 11% from June.

Total finished imports were finalized at 2.17 million tons in July, the highest level seen since January 2019 when they had reached 2.46 million tons. Finished steel import licenses for August are now up to 2.05 million tons, up from 1.87 million tons last week.

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 final July data is 2.85 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 through the latest license data, the August 3MMA is currently at 2.87 million tons, which could potentially be the highest level since October 2018’s 2.86 million ton rate.

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 30-month high in July to 1.18 million tons, with the latest August license data at 1.16 million tons. Pipe and tube imports slipped to 373,000 tons in July, while August licenses are currently at 399,000 tons (potentially a 17-month high).

By Brett Linton,

Brett Linton

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