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May Steel Imports Down 23 Percent

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The American Iron and Steel Institute, Washington, reported that the U.S. imported 2.9 million tons of steel, including 2.4 million tons of finished steel, in February, according to Census Bureau data. Overall, steel imports for the month were down 23.2 percent and finished steel imports decreased 16 percent from April.

Steel imports through May totaled 15.3 million tons and finished steel imports totaled 12.1 million tons, down 2.7 percent and up 0.4 percent, respectively, from the same period in 2017. Finished steel import market share was an estimated 25 percent in May and is estimated at 26 percent year to date. 

A key finished steel products with significant import increases in May was wire rods, up 61 percent month to month. Major products with significant year-to-date increases include: hot-rolled sheets, up 38 percent; plates in coils, up 36 percent; mechanical tubing, up 23 percent; line pipe, up 20 percent; and oil country goods, up 19 percent.

The largest volumes of finished steel imports from offshore in May were from Germany at 140,000 tons, up 16 percent from April; Japan at 120,000 tons, up 22 percent; South Korea at 110,000 tons, down 77 percent; Turkey at 92,000 tons, down 37 percent; and Taiwan at 77,000 tons, down 33 percent.

Through the first five months of 2018, the largest offshore suppliers were South Korea at 1.5 million tons, down 1 percent year over year; Japan at 612,000 tons, down 7 percent; Turkey at 567,000 tons, down 50 percent; Germany at 549,000 tons, up 13 percent; and Taiwan at 467,000 tons, down 6 percent.