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Steel imports surge in July but remain down 19.2% this year
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Steel imports surge in July but remain down 19.2% this year

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Steel imports surge in July but remain down 19.2% this year

Steel imports were up in July, but remain down nearly one-fifth for the year.

Steel imports have fallen by 19.2% so far this year, largely as a result of the coronavirus pandemic that's gutted demand for metal.

After months of decline, the United States imported 2.6 million tons of steel in July, a 92% increase over June, according to preliminary U.S. Census Bureau data. That included 1.3 million tons of finished steel products, an increase by 3.6% as compared to the previous month.

For the first seven months of the year, the United States imported 15 million tons of steel, according to the American Iron and Steel Institute. That includes 10 million tons of finished steel products that do not require any further processing in the United States, such as at the service centers at the Port of Indiana-Burns Harbor, a 26.1% year-over-year decrease.

Imports of finished steel grabbed 20% of the U.S. market share in July and 19% during the first seven months of the year, according to the American Iron and Steel Institute. The United States is on pace to import 17.2 million tons of finished steel products, a 18.5% decline as compared to 2019.

In July, the United States saw imports of reinforcing bars rise by 61%, tin free steel by 61%, heavy structural shapes by 51%, tin plate by 43% and hot dripped galvanized sheets and strip by 35%. So far this year, the only imported product with a significant year-to-date increase is tin free steel, which is up 29% year-over-year.

The largest offshore suppliers of steel in July were South Korea, Brazil, China, Turkey and Japan, according to the American Iron and Steel Institute. Through the first seven months of the year, imports from South Korea fell 21%, Japan by 40%, Germany by 39%, Turkey by 80%, and Brazil by 6%.

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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.

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