Steel imports fell 23.2 percent to 2.88 million tons in May, as the Section 232 tariffs drove up the price of imported steel by 25 percent.

The American Iron and Steel Institute reports the United States imported 2.4 million tons of steel last month, a 16 percent decline as compared to April. The largest offshore suppliers were Germany, Japan, South Korea, Turkey and Taiwan.

So far this year, America has imported 15 million tons of steel, a 2.7 percent decline as compared to the first five months of 2017. That included 12.1 million tons of finished steel products, which is up 0.4 percent month-over-month and accounts for 26 percent of the market share.

Despite signs the Section 232 tariffs were starting to put a dent in the steel imports that have beset Northwest Indiana's steel industry over the last few years, imports still captured 25 percent of the U.S. market in May.

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Imports of wire rod grew by 61 percent in May, as compared to April. So far this year, imports of hot rolled sheets have risen by 38 percent, plates in coils by 36 percent, mechanical tubing by 23 percent, line pipe by 20 percent and oil country goods by 19 percent.

Over the first five months of the year, the biggest offshore suppliers have been South Korea, Japan, Turkey, German and Taiwan. Exports from all of those countries, save for Germany, have declined through the end of May.

As of the end of May, the United States is on pace to import 36.8 million tons of steel according to the American Iron and Steel Institute. To put that figure in context, the United States made 90.1 million tons of steel last year.


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.