The American Iron and Steel Institute, Washington, reported that the U.S. imported 1.9 million net tons of steel in December, including 1.7 million tons of finished steel, according to Census Bureau data. Steel imports for the month were down 20.4 percent and finished steel imports decreased 12.6 percent from November.
Full-year steel imports totaled 33.7 million tons and finished steel imports totaled 25.7 million tons, down 11.5 percent and 13.1 percent, respectively, from 2017. Finished steel import market share was a 19 percent in December and 23 percent for the year.
Key finished steel products with significant import increases in December were heavy structural shapes, up 20 percent, and line pipe, up 12 percent. Major products with significant full-year increases include hot-rolled sheets, up 22 percent, and plates in coils, up 15 percent.
The largest volumes of finished steel imports from offshore in December were from Germany at 114,000 tons, down 9 percent from November; Vietnam at 100,000 tons, down 17 percent; South Korea at 91,000 tons, down 53 percent; Japan at 97,000 tons, down 16 percent; and Turkey at 53,000 tons, down 10 percent.
In 2018, the largest offshore suppliers were South Korea at 2.7 million tons, down 26 percent year over year; Japan at 1.4 million tons, down 8 percent; Germany at 1.3 million tons, down 5 percent; Turkey at 1.2 million tons, down 47 percent; and Vietnam at 1.1 million tons, up 48 percent.