Steel Imports Rise 17.3% in January from December Data

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gui yong nian/Adobe Stock

According to the latest monthly imports report from the American Iron and Steel Institute (AISI), steel imports jumped 17.3% in January from December totals.

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Compared with January 2017, however, imports were up 2.2%, according to the AISI report based on U.S. Census Bureau data.

The U.S. imported a total of 2,875,000 net tons (NT) of steel in January. The import market share for January rose to 26%, up from 22% in December.

U.S. steel imports market share. Source: American Iron and Steel Institute

By product, several items posted significant month-over-month leaps in import totals:

  • Sheets and strip all other metallic coatings (up 129%)
  • Reinforcing bars (up 82%)
  • Oil country goods (up 78%)
  • Line pipe (up 44%)
  • Standard pipe (up 30%)
  • Hot rolled sheets (up 27%)
  • Hot rolled bars (up 22%)
  • Wire drawn (up 14%)
  • Mechanical tubing (up 13%)
  • Plates in coils (up 11%)

By country, South Korea led the way, sending 339,000 NT in finished steel to the U.S., which was up 76.9% from the December total and up 8.8% from the January 2017 total.

Trailing South Korea in January exports to the U.S. were: Japan (141,000 NT, up 73% from December), Turkey (140,000 NT, up 141%), Taiwan (117,000 NT, up 188%) and Brazil (102,000 NT, up 6%).

As for China, it sent 72,000 NT to the U.S. in January, marking a 35.4% increase from the 53,000 NT sent in December. The January total made for a slight increase from the January 2017 total of 70,000 NT.

Of course, in the background is the Section 232 decision-making process.

Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross sent his Section 232 report to President Trump last month; Trump has until April 11 to act on the report and its recommendations.

In the conclusion of the steel report, it states that Ross concludes that “the present quantities and circumstance of steel imports are ‘weakening our internal economy’ and threaten to impair the national security as defined in Section 232.”

The stated alternative action options in the report included: 1) an at least 24% tariff on imports from all countries 2) an at least 53% tariff on imports from a list of 12 countries (which includes China), combined with a quota for all other countries equal to 100% of a country’s 2017 exports to the U.S. and 3) a quota on all countries equivalent to 63% of a country’s 2017 exports to the U.S.

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In case you missed it, MetalMiner Executive Editor Lisa Reisman broke down the Section 232 steel report, which the Department of Commerce made public earlier this month.

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