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Steel imports down 11.4 percent this year

Longshoremen unload coils of steel from the Iryda at the Port of Indiana in 2010. 

Imports of steel into the United States totaled 29.1 million tons through the first 10 months of the year, down 11.4 percent as compared to the same time last year, according to the American Iron and Steel Institute.

The Washington, D.C.-based trade association that advocates for the U.S. steel industry reported that finished steel imports that don't require any further processing in the United States fell 13.3 percent year-over-year to 22.1 million during the first 10 months of the year.

Import permit applications in October totaled 2.97 million tons, a 5.3 percent increase compared to September percent tons and a 31.6 percent increase compared to the final imports in September, according to preliminary U.S. Census Bureau data. Imports grabbed 21 percent of the U.S. market share in October and 23 percent so far this year.

In October, imports fell 7 percent to 177,000 tons from South Korea and 2 percent from 114,000 tons from Germany. Imports rose 23 percent to 111,000 tons from Japan, 29 percent to 97,000 tons from Vietnam, and 57 percent to 91,000 tons from the Netherlands. The largest offshore suppliers this year have been South Korea, Japan and Germany.

Tonnage has fallen from all three countries, largely as the result of the Section 232 tariffs of 25 percent on all foreign-made steel.

So far this year, imports of hot-rolled sheets are up 22 percent and plates in coils by 19 percent, according to the AISI.

In October, imports of cold finished bars rose 59 percent, line pipe by 54 percent, hot rolled bars by 52 percent, mechanical tubing by 32, tin plate by 29 percent, cut lengths plates by 26 percent and wire drawn by 20 percent.

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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.