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Imports grab 26 percent of the market share in August

Longshoremen in The Port of Indiana help guide coils of steel as they are unloaded from a barge Monday in the port. Imports have captured 26 percent of the market share.

Steel imports grabbed a smaller market share in August, but still account for 31 percent of the steel purchased and consumed in the United States so far this year.

Imports grabbed a 26 percent market share in August, according to preliminary U.S. Census Bureau data. 

The American Iron and Steel Institute reported the United States imported 3 million net tons of steel in August, including 2.43 million net tons of finished steel that typically doesn't require any further processing at finishing lines or service centers in America.

Finished imports were down 6.7 percent in August as compared to July, and total imports declined by 8.2 percent. 

For the first eight months of the year, the United States imported 28 million tons of steel, or about 2 percent less than last year's record amount. Imports took 28 percent of the overall market share last year, a tie for the all-time record.

America imported 22.9 million net tons of finished steel products so far this year, a 7 percent increase over the same period in 2014.

An executive at a local service center, the middlemen that buy steel from the mills before sending it end users like automakers or appliance factories, said they would generally prefer to buy American-made metal but risk getting undercut on price by competitors if they don't buy at least some imported steel.

Domestic steelmakers have filed three major trade cases that are expected to slow the tide of imports, and raise steel prices. Steel is now selling in the United States for half of what it cost in 2008.

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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.