US steel imports fall 17% to 27.9 million short tons in 2019

The American Iron and Steel Institute (AISI) estimated that some 27.9 million st of steel were imported into the US last year, down 17.3% from 2018.

Of that total about 21 million st were imported as finished steel. Imports of semi-finished steel like slabs and billets – imported by US steelmakers themselves – totaled around 8 million st. last year.

The finished steel imports, which were down 18.1% from 2018, took an estimated 19% of the US market last year, according to the AISI.

The US imported 1.55 million st of steel in December (including some 1.35 million st of finished steel), based on preliminary US Census Bureau data, roughly flat when compared to November import levels. Finished steel import market share was an estimated 15% in December.

The AISI said major finished steel products with significant import increases in December compared to November were plates in coils (up 41%), hot-rolled sheets (up 27%), cold-rolled sheets (up 22%) and cut plates (up 18%).

— Tom Balcerek