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Steel imports soar by 75.1%

Rows of ArcelorMittal coils sit ready to be loaded onto the ship Pacific Huron at the Port of Indiana-Burns Harbor before their departure to Macedonia in 2011. U.S. steel exports fell 13.5 percent in March as compared to March 2015.

Steel import permit applications rose to 3.57 million tons in July, according to the U.S. Commerce Department’s most recent data.

That's up 31% from the 2.72 million permitted tons in June and 75.1% up from the final June imports of 2 million.

The American Iron and Steel Institute, a Washington D.C.-based trade association that advocates on behalf of the steel industry, reported that imports of finished steel that would require no further processing in the United States, such as at the 22 steel companies at the Port of Indiana-Burns Harbor in Porter County, rose 8.9% from the final imports total of 1.72 million the previous months.

Finished steel imports captured 19% of the U.S. market share in July and 21% so far this year.

Steel imports have totaled 19.2% for the first seven months of the year, which was down 8% as compared to the first seven months of 2018, according to the American Iron and Steel Institute. Finished steel imports fell 16.2% to 12.5 million through the end of July, as compared to the same period the previous year.

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In July, imports of cut lengths plate rose by 56%, line pipe by 33%, plates in coil by 28%, hot rolled bars by 25%, sheets and strip hot dipped galvanized by 22%, hot rolled sheets by 18%, mechanical tubing by 15%, heavy structural shapes by 14%, wire rods by 14%, and standard pipe by 13%.

So far this year, imports of black plate have risen by 64%, steel piling by 43% and tin free steel by 19%.

In July, imports rose 24% to 202,000 tons from South Korea and 391% to 75,000 tons from Brazil, according to the American Iron and Steel Institute. That month, imports fell 15% to 96,000 tons from Japan, 6% from 81,000 tons from Taiwan, and 22% to 78,000 from Germany.

Through the end of July, imports have fallen 15% to 1.65 million from South Korea, 6% to 819,000 from Japan and 8% to 694,000 from Germany.

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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.