Imports capture 28 percent of market share in July

Steel at the Port of Indiana in Portage. Imports fell by 12.3 percent in July.

Tony V. Martin

Steel import permit applications fell to 3.45 million tons in July, a 12.3 percent decline as compared to June, according to the American Iron and Steel Institute.

Imports captured 28 percent of the U.S. market share in July and 27 percent so far this year.

In July, applications for finished steel products that would not require any further processing in the United States, such as at the steel companies at the Port of Indiana-Burns Harbor, declined 5.3 percent to 2.79 million tons, down from 2.94 million tons in June.

Finished steel imports are up 16.5 percent to 17.8 million tons through the first seven months of the year, while total imports have soared by 21.7 percent to 23 million tons over the same period, according to the American Iron and Steel Institute. 

The largest offshore suppliers, outside of NAFTA, during the first seven months of the year were South Korea, Turkey and Japan. Steel permit applications from Japan rose 20 percent in July and Germany saw a 24 percent bump in steel sent to the U.S. Imports from both South Korea and Turkey declined by double digits last month.

In July imports of standard rail skyrocketed by 189 percent and standard pipe jumped by 51 percent. So far this year, imports of oil country goods, cold rolled sheets, standard pipe, sheets and strip and all other metallic coatings, line pipe, mechanical tubing, hot rolled bars, sheets and strip hot dipped galvanized, tin plate and wire rods all have posted double-digit gains.

Most dramatically, imports of oil country goods have soared by 255 percent so far this year.

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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.