Steel imports shoot up by 12 percent in July

Joseph S. Pete, The Times

Stevedores unload steel off the Federal Caribou in the Port of Indiana-Burns Harbor last week. Steel imports into the United States shot up by 12 percent in the month of July.

Steel imports rose by 12 percent in July compared to June, despite all the new tariffs and trade laws protecting America’s battered steel industry.

The United States imported 3.1 million net tons of steel in July, according to U.S. Census Bureau data. That included 2.4 million net tons of finished steel that requires no further processing in the United States, which was 6.5 percent higher than in June.

South Korea, Turkey, Japan and Germany sent the most steel onto U.S shores. Imports from those countries rose between 21 percent and 52 percent in July.

The American Iron and Steel Institute reported imports of hot-rolled sheets shot up by 48 percent in July compared to June. Imports of reinforcing bars rose by 32 percent, oil country goods by 26 percent and cut length plates by 25 percent.

Imports of plates in coils and line pipe increased by 25 percent and 10 percent respectively.

So far this year, imports have captured 25 percent of the U.S. market share, according to the American Iron and Steel Institute. Last year, imports tied an all-time record of 29 percent as steelmakers lost billions of dollars and laid off thousands of workers.

The United States has imported 18.8 million tons of steel thus far this year, which is down 25 percent when compared to the first seven months of 2015, the AISI reported. Finished steel imports total 15.2 percent over the first seven months of 2016, a 26 percent decrease compared to the same period last year.

The United States is on pace to import about 32.4 million tons of steel, which would be 17 percent less than 2015.

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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.