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Steel imports plunge by 34% in August

The Federal Caribou brought steel products to the Port of Indiana-Burns Harbor in 2016. The market share of finished steel imports is 20% so far this year.

Steel imports plummeted by 34% in August, according to preliminary U.S. Census Bureau data.

In August, the United States imported 2 million tons of steel and 1.78 million tons of finished steel, which requires no further processing. Finished steel imports were down 3.4% in August compared to July and 34% year-over-year, according to the American Iron and Steel Institute.

The United States is on pace to import 31 million tons of steel this year, which would be down 8.1% as compared to 2018. That includes a projected 23 million tons of finished steel, which would be down 10.6% year-over-year.

Through the first eight months of the year, the United States has imported 20.66 million tons of steel, which is down nearly 14% year-over-year, according to the American Iron and Steel Institute. Finished steel imports have fallen 15.9% to 15.3 million tons through the end of August, as compared to the same period in 2018.

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Imports of finished steel products grabbed 19% of the market share in August and 20% through the first eight months of the year.

The biggest offshore suppliers in August were South Korea, Japan, Germany, Taiwan and Spain.

August imports rose by 46% to 263,000 tons from South Korea, by 54% to 134,000 tons from Japan, and by 47% to 56,000 tons from Spain.

So far this year, with Section 232 tariffs of 25%, steel imports have declined 3% to 944,000 tons from Japan, by 12% to 767,000 tons from Germany, by 10% to 668,000 tons from Taiwan, and by 22% to 543,000 tons from Vietnam.

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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.