US steel imports rise in July, paced by blooms, billets and slabs

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U.S. steel imports totaled 2.7 million metric tons in July, the Census Bureau reported this week.

The total marked an increase from 2.6 million metric tons in June.

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US steel imports paced by blooms, billets and slabs

steel made in an EAF

nikitos77/Adobe Stock

The July rise in imports came largely on the back of a jump in imports of blooms, billets and slabs.

Imports for that category totaled 860,790 tons, up 8.2% from 795,863 tons in June.

Meanwhile, imports of hot dipped galvanized sheets and strips totaled 228,981 tons in July, up from 177,925 tons the previous month.

Imports of oil country goods rose to 160,025 tons from 154,073 tons the previous month.

Rebar, hot rolled sheet imports decline

However, imports of reinforcing bars fell to 82,623 tons from 94,915 tons the previous month.

Hot rolled sheet imports totaled 282,605 tons in July, down from 311,461 tons the previous month.

Wire rod imports fell to 101,746 tons from 113,408 tons in June.

North of the border

By country, imports from Canada increased to 594,500 from tons in July from 579,405 tons the previous month.

Meanwhile, imports from Mexico fell 7.9% month over month to 349,343 tons.

Imports from Russia surged by 30.5% to 210,540 tons.

Elsewhere, imports from Japan plunged to 60,924 tons in July from 126,982 tons in June. Korean imports jumped to 265,573 tons from 248,582 tons the previous month.

In addition, imports from Brazil surged by 34.8% month over month to 413,306 tons in July.

Steel Dynamics eyes Q4 for new flat rolled mill

Steel buyers continue to face myriad challenges, from market tightness to logistics issues.

Global steel production declined for the second straight month on a month-over-month basis in July, the World Steel Association reported this week.

Global steel production totaled 161.7 million tons in July, down from 168 million tons the previous month. Meanwhile, May production totaled 175 million tons.

Furthermore, Beijing’s efforts to curb steel production appear to be taking hold. China’s steel production also declined for a second straight month, totaling 86.8 million tons in July (down from 93.9 million tons in June.

In the U.S., buyers are vying for limited supply, whether domestically or in the form of steel imports, amid an unprecedented ascent of steel prices over the last year.

Some relief is coming in the form of Steel Dynamics, Inc.’s (SDI) new electric arc furnace (EAF) flat rolled mill in Sinton, Texas. In its Q2 investor report, the steelmaker said it plans to start production at the mill in mid-Q4 2021. The company estimated an investment price tag of $1.9 billion for the new mill.

SDI estimates the mill will add 3 million tons in annual production, bringing its total annual capacity to nearly 14 million tons.

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