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Total US imports of steel decline in August, but imports of hot-rolled coil climb

2019-10-01

The US imported a total of 2 million st of steel in August, including 1.783 million st of finished steel, according to the preliminary Census Bureau data.

The data showed Wednesday that the total August imports were down 34% from July level, while finished steel imports were 3.4% down on the month.

Through the first eight months of 2019, total and finished steel imports by the US were 20.668 million st and 15.321 million st, down 13.6% and 15.9%, respectively, year on year, the American Iron and Steel Institute reported.

AISI noted that a key finished steel product registering a substantial import increase in August compared to July was hot-rolled sheet, with imports up 10% month on month to 173,764 st.

In August, the S&P Global Platts benchmark price assessment for US-made hot-rolled coil averaged $596.32/st, ex-works Indiana. Through September 25, the assessment is averaging $558.03/st, down 6.4% -- a likely reflection of stiffer import competition combined with weaker domestic demand.

Annualized total and finished steel imports in 2019 would be 31 million and 23 million st, down 8.1% and 10.6%, respectively, compared with 2018, according to AISI.

The Washington-based steel advocacy group said the finished steel import market share in the US was an estimated 19% in August and is estimated at 20% over the first eight months of 2019.

Source:  S&P Global