Steel imports plunge by 41 percent in January

1 March 2016

The United States started to impose more tariffs on steel imports last year after they captured an unprecedented 29 percent of U.S. market share, causing thousands of layoffs and mill idlings nationwide.

Those tariffs appear to now be having an impact.

Import market share dropped to 26 percent in January in the United States, according to preliminary U.S. Census Bureau data. It’s been trending downward after hitting a high of 33 percent in February 2015.

The United States imported 2.57 million net tons of steel last month, a steep 41 percent drop from January 2015, according to the American Iron and Steel Institute. That included 2.2 million net tons of finished steel that doesn’t require any further processing in America, a 38 percent plunge from the same period a year earlier.

Despite the dramatic year-over-year drops, imports of steel rose 10 percent in January over December. Imports of finished steel were up 8.8 percent last month, as compared to the previous month.

Hot-rolled sheet imports dropped 29.8 percent in January, as compared to January 2015, the American Iron and Steel Institute reported. Imports of cold-rolled sheets were down 39.5 percent year-over-year, while plates in coil were down 36.2 percent.

In January, most imports came from Turkey, South Korea, Japan, Brazil, and Germany. Turkey shipped 244,000 tons of steel to the United States, a 34 percent increase over December, while South Korea sent over 241,000 tons, a 3 percent increase over the previous month.