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Steel imports grab 20 percent of the U.S. market share

Steel coils sit on wagons when leaving the Thyssenkrupp steel factory in Duisburg in Germany. Steel imports grabbed 20 percent of the market share in February.

Steel imports grabbed 20 percent of the U.S. market share in February, significantly down as compared to recent years.

The United States imported 2.43 million tons of steel in February 2019, which was down 30.1% as compared to January, according to preliminary U.S. Census Bureau data. That included 1.74 million tons of finished steel products, which require no further processing at U.S. mills or service centers. Finished steel imports were down 28.8% from the month prior.

During the first two months of 2019, the United States imported 5.91 million tons of steel, up 10.2% as compared to the same period in 2018, according to the American Iron and Steel Institute. That included 4.19 million tons of finished steel imports, which is down 3.6% compared to the first two months of 2018.

So far this year, imports have captured 22% of the market share.

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Imports of reinforcing bars have risen by 73%, line pipe by 58% and cut lengths plates by 18%.

Thus far in 2019, the largest offshore suppliers of steel to the United States were South Korea, Japan, Germany, Taiwan and Brazil, according to the American Iron and Steel Institute. During the first two months of the year, imports have fallen 13% to 548,000 tons from South Korea, 4% to 230,000 tons in Japan, 12% to 173,000 tons in Taiwan, and 1% to 151,000 tons in Brazil. They have stayed flat year-to-date at 215,000 tons in Germany.

In February, steel imports fell 48% to 187,000 tons in South Korea, 17% to 124,000 tons in Japan, 40% to 81,000 tons in Germany, and 28% to 72,000 tons in Japan. Imports rose 8% to 75,000 tons in Italy.

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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.