Steel imports rise 19 percent in January

Steel at the Port of Indiana in Portage. Imports grabbed 26 percent of the market share in January.

Tony V. Martin

The United States received permit applications for imports of 2.9 million tons of steel in January, an 18.9 percent year-over-year increase and a 17.7 percent increase over December, according to the U.S. Commerce Department's most recent Steel Import Monitoring and Analysis data.

The American Iron and Steel Institute reported the United States got permit applications for imports of 2.3 million tons of finished steel products that require no further processing in the United States, a 22.6 percent increase from December.

Though the final amount imported could end up being less, finished steel products are expected to have seized 26 percent of the overall market share in January.

Steel imports were up by 15 percent in 2017.

So far in 2018, imports of sheets and of strip-all other metallic coatings were up 134 percent, according to the AISI. Meanwhile, imports of reinforcing bars rose by 133 percent, oil country goods by 73 percent, line pipe by 56 percent, hot rolled sheets by 24 percent, hot rolled bars by 17 percent, standard pipe by 15 percent and plates in coils by 10 percent.

South Korea asked to send 362,000 tons of steel to the United States last month, up 89 percent compared to December. Import permit applications were up 208 percent from Taiwan, 192 percent from Turkey and 65 percent from Japan.

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Business reporter

Joseph S. Pete is a Lisagor Award-winning business reporter who covers steel, industry, unions, the ports, retail, banking and more. The Indiana University grad has been with The Times since 2013 and blogs about craft beer, culture and the military.