Steel Products Prices North America

July Preliminary Imports Fall to 4-Month Low, August Licenses at 17-Month Low

Written by Brett Linton

Preliminary Census data indicates that July steel imports will total 2.67 million net tons, down 6% compared to June and the lowest monthly rate since February of this year. July figures are down 14% compared to March’s 26-month high of 3.09 million tons. Import licenses for August are currently at 1.98 million tons through August 24th data, potentially the lowest level since February 2021 (1.90 million tons).

US Steel Import Trend

Total finished steel imports are preliminarily at 2.29 million tons in July, 2% higher than June, but 9% less than March’s 46-month high. The latest license data shows August finished steel imports down to 1.68 million tons, the lowest level seen since February 2021.

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. The 3MMA is 2.75 million tons through preliminary July data. This is down slightly from the month prior, remaining in line with levels seen over the past year. The latest license data suggests that the 3MMA could decline to 2.50 million tons through August.

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, and 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. July flat-rolled imports eased to 1.01 million tons, down 11% from the month prior and down 3% from May. August licenses are currently showing 909,000 tons of flat-rolled steel to enter the country. Pipe and tube imports were 534,000 tons in July, rebounding 8% from June and now at a 3+ year high. August pipe and tube import licenses are currently at 331,000 tons.

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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