Steel imports fall by 13% so far this year

Port of Indiana-Burns Harbor security officer Adam Dittoe radios other security personel while walking around a docked ship unloading steel coils at the Port in Burns Harbor.

Steel imports have fallen nearly 13% so far this year, according to U.S. Census Bureau data.

The United States has imported 15.6 million tons of steel through the first six months of the year. That includes 11.6 million tons of finished steel products that require no further processing in the United States, a 16.7% decline as compared to the same period in 2018, according to the American Iron and Steel Institute.

In June, the United States imported 2 million tons of steel, a 2.5% year-over-year drop. Finished steel imports last months dropped 8.3% to 1.71 million tons, capturing 20% of the U.S. market share.

Through the first six months of 2019, imports of finished steel products have grabbed 21% of the U.S. market share, according to the American Iron and Steel Institute.

In June, imports of tin plate rose by 70%, mechanical tubing by 14% and wire rods by 12%.

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Last month, imports dropped 44% from South Korea and by 3% from Vietnam, while imports rose by 56% from Germany and by 7% from Taiwan, according to the American Iron and Steel Institute. So far this year, imports have fallen by 17% from South Korea year-over-year, 2% from Japan, 7% from Germany, 7% from Taiwan, and 15% from Vietnam.

Imports have fallen since the Section 232 tariffs of 25% were imposed on most foreign-made steel last year, but the initial surge in prices has receded.

Steel prices remain depressed after hitting a seven-year high of more than $850 a ton last summer, according to the trade publication Metal Miner.

As of July 22, hot-rolled band is selling for $572 a ton, cold-rolled coil $726 a ton, and standard plate $866 a ton, according to the steel pricing website Steel Benchmarker.


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.