Steel import market share falls to 21 percent

A welder fabricates a steel structure at an iron works facility in Ottawa, Ontario. Steel import market share fell to 21 percent last month.

Steel import market share, a record 29 percent in the United States just a few years ago, has been waning in the wake of the Section 232 tariffs that impose a 25 percent increase to the cost of all foreign-made steel.

Imports of finished steel products captured just 21 percent of the market share in America in August and 24 percent so far this year, according to the U.S. Commerce Department’s most recent Steel Import Monitoring and Analysis data.

The American Iron and Steel Institute reports the United States received import permit applications for 2.94 million tons of steel in August, down 8 percent from July. That included permits for 1.9 million tons of finished steel products that would require no further processing in the United States, a decline of 11 percent as compared to July.

The largest offshore suppliers in August were Turkey, South Korea, Germany, Japan and Vietnam. 

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So far this year, the biggest offshore suppliers by volume are South Korea, Japan and Turkey, according to the American Iron and Steel Institute. Imports are down 20 percent year-over-year from South Korea, 52 percent from Turkey and 8 percent from Japan.

During the first eight months of the year, steel imports to the United States have fallen 10.5 percent to 23.8 million tons, the AISI reports. Imports of finished steel products have declined 11.4 percent to 18.1 million tons.

Imports of plates in coils are up by 19 percent so far this year and hot rolled sheets by 16 percent. In August, imports of wire rods rose by 74 percent, cut lengths plates by 29 percent and wire drawn by 12 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.