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March Steel Imports Down 6.6 Percent

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The American Iron and Steel Institute, Washington, reported the U.S. imported 2.3 million net tons of steel in March, including 1.9 million tons of finished steel, according to Census Bureau data. Steel imports for the month were down 6.6 percent and finished steel imports decreased 6.7 percent from November.

Through three months, imports totaled 8.2 million tons and finished steel imports totaled 6.1 million tons, down 5.9 percent and 11.4 percent, respectively, from the same period in 2018. Finished steel import market share was a 19 percent in March and 21 percent through three months. 

Key finished steel products with significant import increases in March were heavy structural shapes, up 39 percent; tin plate, up 37 percent; sheets and strip all other metallic coatings, up 32 percent; oil country goods, up 25 percent; wire rods, up 15 percent; cold-rolled sheets, up 13 percent; plates in coils, up 12 percent; and hot-rolled bars, up 11 percent. Major products with significant full-year increases include line pipe, up 51 percent, and reinforcing bars, up 28 percent.

The largest volumes of finished steel imports from offshore in March were from South Korea at 174,000 tons, down 7 percent from February; Taiwan at 111,000 tons, up 54 percent; Japan at 100,000 tons, down 20 percent; Germany at 94,000 tons, up 16; and Vietnam at 81,000 tons, up 87 percent.

Through March, the largest offshore suppliers were South Korea at 722,000 tons, down 24 percent; Japan at 330,000 tons, down 16 percent; Germany at 309,000 tons, up 7 percent; Taiwan at 284,000 tons, up 4 percent; and Vietnam at 228,000 tons, up 27 percent.

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