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Steel imports fall 26 percent in September

Steel coils await shipment at the Port of Indiana Burns Harbor. 

Steel imports plunged by 26 percent in September as tariffs continue to take a toll on foreign-made steel.

The United States imported 2.24 million tons of steel in September, according to preliminary U.S. Census Bureau data. That included 1.8 million tons of finished steel products that require no further processing, an 8.6 percent decline as compared to August.

Imports of finished steel accounted for about 20 percent of the market share in September and 24 percent so far this year, which is significantly down, largely as a result of the 25 percent across-the-board tariffs that make foreign steel more expensive.

The United States has imported 26.1 million tons of steel through the first nine months of the year, down 12 percent as compared the same period in 2017, according to the American Iron and Steel Institute. It imported 20 million tons of finished steel, a 12.5 percent year-over-year decline.

The largest offshore suppliers of steel have been South Korea, Japan, Germany, Turkey and Taiwan. In September, imports rose 9 percent from South Korea, 12 percent from Turkey, 4 percent from Germany and 29 percent from Taiwan, while declining 11 percent from Japan.

In September, imports of standard pipe rose by 26 percent, hot rolled sheets by 25 percent, and sheets and strip all other metallic coatings by 23 percent. So far this year, imports of hot rolled sheets are and plates in coils are each up by 21 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.