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Steel imports up 19 percent

Workers secure steel coils in 2011 at the Port of Indiana-Burns Harbor. 

Steel import permit applications totaled 3.9 million in April, 11.2 percent up from March's permit applications and up 19 percent from March's final imports, according to the Commerce Department’s most recent Steel Import Monitoring and Analysis data.

The American Iron and Steel Institute reported that import permit tonnage for finished steel in April rose 17.6 percent to 2.9 million. Imports of line pipe rose 75 percent, heavy structural shapes by 68 percent, sheets and strip all other metallic coatings by 65 percent, reinforcing bars by 59 percent, tin plate by 59 percent, hot rolled bars by 40 percent, sheets and strip hot dipped galvanized by 31 percent, and cut length plates by 13 percent.

Total steel imports have risen 2.9 percent to 12.6 million tons during the first four months of the year, according to the American Iron and Steel Institute. That includes 9.7 million tons of finished steel products that require no further processing in the United States, a 3 percent increase over the same period last year.

So far this year, imports of plates in coils have increased by 42 percent, hot rolled sheets by 42 percent, line pipe by 28 percent, mechanical tubing by 25 percent, oil country goods by 23 percent and hot rolled bars by 13 percent.

South Korea has been the biggest offshore supplier of steel imports with 1.3 million tons, followed by Turkey and Japan, the Commerce Department found.

Imports grabbed 29 percent of the market share in April and 26 percent of the market share so far this year.

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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.