Steel Products Prices North America

U.S. Steel Imports Rise to 28-Month High in September

Written by Brett Linton

Final Census data shows that September foreign steel imports increased 17% from August to 3.26 million net tons and a 28-month high. October import licenses are currently at 2.47 million tons as of Nov. 4, down 24% from September and down 11% compared to August.

The last time total monthly import levels were this high was April 2019 when 3.33 million tons of steel entered the country. 

Total finished imports for September were finalized at 2.56 million tons, the highest level seen since April 2018 (40 months) when they reached 2.89 million tons. Finished steel import licenses for October are currently a 2.07 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 final September data is 3.04 million tons, up from 2.92 million tons in August, and up from 2.85 million tons in July. September marks the highest 3MMA import level seen since June 2018 when it was 3.06 million tons. The lowest 3MMA level in our recent history was October 2020 at 1.36 million tons. Looking at October license data, the October 3MMA is currently at 2.83 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 rose to another multi-year high in September to 1.39 million tons, with the latest October license data showing 1.17 million tons coming into the country. Pipe and tube imports increased to 507,000 tons in September, a 25-month high, and October licenses are currently at 320,000 tons.

An interactive history of our steel imports data is available here on our website. If you need assistance logging in to or navigating the website, please contact us at

By Brett Linton,

Brett Linton

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