Census Bureau: U.S. steel imports down 17% through first 11 months of 2019

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U.S. steel imports through the first 11 months of 2019 were down 17% compared with the same period in 2018, according to preliminary U.S. Census Bureau data.

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Imports through the first 11 months of 2019 reached 23.9 millions tons, down from 28.9 million tons from January-November 2018.

“The largest commodity decreases occurred primarily in blooms, billets and slabs,” the Census Bureau said. “Increases occurred primarily in black plate, tin free steel, and steel piling. The largest country decreases occurred primarily with Russia. Increases occurred primarily with Spain, Ukraine, and South Africa.”

December imports down 17% year over year

Meanwhile, according to preliminary Census Bureau data, December imports reached 1.4 million tons, unchanged from the November figure but down from 1.7 million tons in December 2018.

Imports of alloy steel products totaled 306,679 tons in December, down from 361,289 tons in November and 396,256 tons in December 2018.

Meanwhile, imports of stainless steel products reached 58,378 tons, up slightly from the 57,041 tons in November but down from 63,918 tons in December 2018.

Imports of carbon steel products totaled 1.04 million tons, up from 1.02 million tons in December and down from 1.26 million tons in December 2018.

The largest share of carbon steel imports, hot-rolled sheets, reached 125,988 tons in December, up from 101,758 tons in November but down from 131,105 tons in December 2018.

Cold-rolled sheet imports reached 96,132 tons in December, up 41% from the previous month but down 2.9% on a year-over-year basis.

Meanwhile, imports of booms, billets and slabs reached 103,740 tons in December, down 22.3% from November and 35.3% from December 2018.

By country, December increases came primarily from Canada, Mexico and Australia.

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December steel imports from Canada reached 458,043 tons, up from 354,399 tons in December 2018. Mexican imports reached 282,144 tons, up from 277,619 tons from December 2018. Australian imports reached 28,479 tons, up from 25,175 tons in December 2018 (and 3,633 tons in November 2019).

According to the American Iron and Steel Institute (AISI), estimated finished steel import market share fell to 15% in December after having reached 25% in January 2019.

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