Steel import permit applications soared by 27.4% month-over-month in April.
Foreign steelmakers applied to import 2.89 million tons of steel into the United States in April, according to the U.S. Commerce Department's most recent Steel Import Monitoring and Analysis data. That's up 3.6% as compared to the 2.79 million tons applied for in March and 27.4% more than the final March import total of 2.27 million.
Import permits for finished steel that would require no further processing in the United States, such as at the 22 steel companies based out of the Port of Indiana-Burns Harbor, totaled 1.98 million tons in April, according to the American Iron and Steel Institute. That's up 6.6% from the import total of 1.86 million in March.
So far this year, the United States has imported 11 million tons of steel, down 11.1% as compared to the same period last year. That includes 8 million tons of finished steel, which is down 17.2% as compared to the same time last year and accounts for 21% of the overall U.S. market share.
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Even with tariffs of 25% on most foreign-made steel, steel imports have captured 21% of the U.S. market share so far this year, though that's down significantly as compared to the level it reached during the import crisis of a few years ago that led to steel mill idlings and thousands of steelworker layoffs nationwide.
In April, import permits for standard rails soared by 223%, sheets and strip electrolytic galvanized by 153%, wire rods by 80%, black plate by 70%, and cut lengths plates by 49% as compared to the previous month. Import permits of sheets and strip hot dipped galvanized rose by 18%, hot rolled bars by 16%, and hot rolled sheets by 12% last month.
So far this year, imports of line pipe are up 21% and wire rod by 13%.
The largest offshore suppliers of steel to the United States through the end of April have been South Korea, Japan and Germany. Imports are down 33% from South Korea and 1% from Japan, and up 10% from Germany in the first four months of the year.