Steel Products Prices North America

November Steel Imports Strong at 3.2 Million Tons, December Licenses at 3.0 Million

Written by Brett Linton

Final Census data shows that steel imports in November rose 15% month-over-month to 3.15 million net tons, not far from September’s 28-month high of 3.26 million tons. December import licenses through Jan. 6 are just shy of 3.00 million tons, a 5% decline from November but up 9% compared to October.

Total finished steel imports were nearly 2.60 million tons in November, up 10% from the month prior and at a 3.5-year high. Finished steel import licenses for December are currently at 2.27 million tons, 13% below November and 4% below October.

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 November data reached 3.05 million tons, the highest level seen in over three years. Recall that the lowest 3MMA level in SMU’s recent history was November 2020 at 1.36 million tons. Looking at the latest December license data, that 3MMA is currently at 2.96 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 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 continued to climb through November, reaching a new multi-year high of 1.54 million tons. December license data currently shows 1.27 million tons coming into the country. Pipe and tube imports were finalized at 424,000 tons in November, and December licenses are currently up 11% to 470,000 tons.

We have an interactive graphing tool available on our website here where readers can further investigate historical import data, in total and by product. If you need assistance logging into or navigating the website, contact us at

By Brett Linton,

Brett Linton

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