U.S. Steel Imports Are Down 10% in the Year to Date

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gui yong nian/Adobe Stock

Given the state of trade relations and the imposition of tariffs, it’s not surprising that the U.S. has imported less steel so far this year.

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According to a recent American Iron and Steel Institute (AISI) report, U.S. imports of finished steel fell 10.1% through the first seven months of the year compared to the same period last year.

Import through the first seven months hit 20,862,000 net tons (NT).

As for July, however, imports hit 2,978,000 NT, up 19.4% from the previous month.

Import market share rose in July, up from June’s 21% to 23% in July. Market share surged to 29% in April, but has been on the decline since then as tariffs have taken hold. Import market share sits at an estimated 25% in the year to date, according to the AISI report.

By product, several posted significant increases in import total from June to July, including: reinforcing bars (up 214%), heavy structural shapes (up 123%), tin plate (up 55%), hot rolled sheets (up 44%), cut lengths plates (up 31%), plates in coils (up 24%), sheets and strip all other metallic coatings (up 23%), line pipe (up 17%), cold rolled sheets (up 12%), and mechanical tubing (up 11%).

By country, South Korea led the way in July with 189,000 NT sent to the U.S., which marked a 10% decrease from June.

Trailing South Korea in net tons of steel shipped to the U.S. were:

  • Japan (132,000 NT, up 3%)
  • Vietnam (118,000 NT, down 4%)
  • Italy (107,000 NT, up 225%)
  • Taiwan (99,000 NT, up 7%).

South Korea has also led the way through the first seven months of the year with 1,932,000 NT, down 15% vs. the same period in 2017.

Trailing South Korea are:

  • Japan (873,000 NT, down 7%)
  • Germany (758,000 NT, up 1%)
  • Turkey (721,000 NT, down 58%)
  • Taiwan (659,000 NT, down 16%)

As noted here previously, U.S. President Donald Trump this month announced the doubling of the Section 232 tariffs against Turkey amid rising political tensions that have seen the Turkish lira post significant losses.

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As such, it’s particularly worth keeping an eye on Turkish steel export totals to the U.S. going forward. Turkey is the world’s eighth-largest steel producer, as MetalMiner’s Stuart Burns noted earlier today.

“Earlier this month, the U.S. announced plans to double tariffs on the nation’s steel to 50%, and raise the rate on aluminum to 20%,” Burns explained. “Prior to sanctions, Turkey made up 62% of rebar coming into the U.S. It also accounted for 37% of imported pipes for piling and 14% of cold-rolled sheet. Turkey exported about 500,000 tons to the U.S. in the five months to May, compared with more than 1 million tons in the same period last year; so, even before the sanctions, the U.S. has fallen from Turkey’s main steel buyer to No. 3.”

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