Steel Products Prices North America

Final May Steel Imports Inch Up to 2.75 Million Tons

Written by Brett Linton

Final Census data reveals that May steel imports totaled 2.75 million net tons, just 17,000 tons higher than April, but down 11% from March’s 26-month high of 3.09 million tons. June import licenses are at 2.79 million tons through July 6th data, (up from 2.29 million tons last week), now in line with April and May levels.

US Steel Import Trend

Total finished steel imports came in at at 2.36 million tons in May, 3% higher than April but 6% less than March’s 46-month high. The latest license data shows June finished steel imports are down 7% to 2.20 million tons, a three-month low.

US Steel Import Trend

Due to large month-on-month swings in semifinished imports in recent years, the chart below shows total imports on a three-month moving average (3MMA) basis in an attempt to more accurately display trends. Through final May figures, the 3MMA is up to 2.86 million tons, the third highest level in the past four years. The latest license data suggests that the 3MMA could decline to 2.76 million tons through June.

Current import levels remain strong compared to recent years: recall 2021 averaged 2.63 million tons per month, 2020 averaged 1.84 million tons per month, 2019 averaged 2.32 million tons per month. In January 2022 the 3MMA had reached a 42-month high of 2.94 million tons. The lowest 3MMA level in SMU’s recent history was October 2020, at 1.36 million tons. 

US Steel Import Trend

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.

US Steel Import Trend Table

The two charts below show monthly imports grouped by product category: flat-rolled imports and pipe and tube imports. May flat rolled-imports eased to 1.04 million tons, down 6% from the month prior and down 17% from March. June licenses are down another 1%, currently showing 1.03 million tons of flat-rolled steel will enter the country. Pipe and tube imports were 529,000 tons in May, up 9% from April to a 2.5-year high. June pipe and tube import licenses are currently up another 9% from May to 577,000 tons, potentially the highest level since March 2019.

US Steel Import Trend

US Steel Import Trend

We have an interactive graphing tool available on our website here. Readers can explore 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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