Steel Products Prices North America

Final July Imports at 2.7 Million Tons, August Licenses Lower

Written by Brett Linton

Final Census data shows that 2.68 million net tons of steel imports entered the country in July, down 6% compared to the month prior and the lowest rate in the past five months.

The preliminary import figures reported last week were just 4,000 tons shy of the final count (most of the flat rolled products tracked by SMU were unchanged or adjusted a few hundred tons). July imports are down 13% compared to March’s 26-month high of 3.09 million tons.

Import licenses for August are currently at 2.42 million tons through Sept. 6th data, up from 1.98 million tons recorded one week prior. August could potentially yield the third lowest import level in the past 18 months.

US Steel Import Trend

Total finished steel imports were 2.30 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 at 2.07 million tons, down 10% versus July.

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 final 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 ease to 2.64 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

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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