Steel imports have fallen 5 percent so far this year as new tariffs are being imposed on foreign-made metal, according to the American Iron and Steel Institutes.

The U.S. Census Bureau reported the United States imported 2.3 million tons of steel in February, an 18 percent decline compared to January. That included 1.9 million tons of finished steel products, down 17.6 percent as compared to the previous month.

So far this year, the United States imported 5.2 million tons of steel, a 5.3 percent decline as compared to the first two months of 2017. Finished steel imports have fallen 3.5 percent to 4.2 million tons, according to the American Iron and Steel Institute.

Imports have captured 24 percent of the market share in February and 25 percent of the market share so far this year. That's down from a near-record 28 percent in 2017.

In February, imports of heavy structural shapes climbed 60 percent and wire robs by 37 percent. Imports from Germany rose by 28 percent, while imports from Japan plunged by 37 percent and South Korea by 18 percent.

So far this year, the largest offshore suppliers outside of North America have been South Korea, Japan, Germany, Turkey and Taiwan. Year-to-date, imports of oil country goods rose by 57 percent, hot rolled sheets by 33 percent, line pipe by 30 percent, hot rolled bar by 27 percent, mechanical tubing by 17 percent and plates in coil by 16 percent.

The United States is on pace to import 31.5 million tons of steel, including 25.5 million tons of finished steel products that don't require further processing at facilities in the United States. If the current pace holds up, overall imports would fall by 17.5 percent year-over-year in 2018, while finished imports would drop by 13.6 percent.


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.