May Steel Imports Down 23% From Previous Month

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U.S. imports of steel dropped 23.2% in May compared to the previous month, according to an American Iron and Steel Institute (AISI) report citing U.S. Census Bureau data.

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The U.S. imported a total of 2,887,000 net tons of steel in May.

The finished steel market share hit 25%, just under the 26% for the year to date.

Germany led the way with 140,000 NT, up 16% from April. Trailing Germany were: Japan (120,000 NT, up 22%), South Korea (110,000 NT, down 77%), Turkey (92,000 NT, down 37%) and Taiwan (77,000 NT, down 33%).

Meanwhile, for the first five months of the year, South Korea led the way with 1,532,000 NT, down 1% versus the same period in 2017), followed by: Japan (612,000 NT, down 7%), Turkey (567,000 NT, down 50%), Germany (549,000 NT, up 13%) and Taiwan (467,000 NT, down 6%).

Imports of wire rods increased 61% from April to May.

In the year to date, other products posting increases compared with the same period in 2017 were: hot rolled sheets (up 38%), plates in coils (up 36%), mechanical tubing (up 23%), line pipe (up 20%) and oil country goods (up 19%).

Of course, the U.S. imposed tariffs of 25% on steel and 10% on aluminum for most countries back in March, with exemptions having been negotiated for a small group of countries. Notably, the European Union, Canada and Mexico were not exempted long term, as the U.S. announced at the end of May that it would not extend the short-term exemption for the trio.

Raw Steel Production

For the week ending June 23, U.S. raw steel production inched up 1.4% from the same week in 2017, and jumped 1.8% for the week ending June 16, according to AISI data.

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The capacity utilization rate was 75.6% for the week.

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