US steel imports up 17% in September; 35% in the first 9 months of 2021

Top imported products in the US (C&A)Based on DOC data; in mt
 Aug. finalSept. prelim% change
Coiled plate137,264167,510+22%
Other semis103,570121,664+17.5%
Coated sheet & strip109,616110,228+0.6%
Wire rod75,285102,782+36.5%

US steel import volumes in September rose 16.7% month on month to 2.9 million mt and climbed 34.6% year-to-date in the first nine months of 2021 compared with the same period in 2020, according to preliminary US Commerce Department data Oct. 27 and analysis from the American Iron and Steel Institute.

September imports soared 156.4% from the same month last year when the industry was recovering from the onset of the coronavirus pandemic.

The import share of the US finished steel market was an estimated at 25% in September and 21% over the first nine months of 2021, according to the AISI.

Imports of slab and other semi-finished steel increased from August, with slab imports up 14.6% to 494,998 mt and non-slab semis up 17.5% at 121,664 mt, according to the US Census preliminary count.

September imports of hot-rolled coil and cold-rolled coil climbed 15.7% to 399,124 mt and 20.8% to 146,982 mt, respectively, from August levels. Hot-dip galvanized imports dropped 20% to 217,915 mt in the same period.

Oil country tubular goods and rebar imports in September jumped from the previous month, rising 105% to 219,152 mt and 70% to 143,950 mt, respectively.

September imports from South Korea, Mexico and Thailand spiked month-on-month, while higher imports from Turkey and Algeria represented the rise in rebar to the US.

Canada was the largest exporter of steel to the US in September, with preliminary imports from the country totaling 747,027 mt, compared with 695,572 mt in August.

Top steel exporters to the US (C&A)Based on DOC data; in mt
 Aug. finalSept. prelim% change
South Korea150,800270,998+80%

— Nick Lazzaro