Preliminary steel imports increase 33% in March, import market share rises to 21%

Based on preliminary Census Bureau data, the American Iron and Steel Institute (AISI) reported today that the U.S. imported a total of 2,446,000 net tons (NT) of steel in March, including 1,850,000 NT of finished steel (up 33 percent and 29 percent, respectively, from February final data).

Annualized total and finished steel imports in 2011 would be 25.6 and 20.0 million NT, respectively, up 7 percent and 6 percent vs. 2010. Finished steel import market share in the first quarter was an estimated 20 percent and rose to 21 percent in March, the same level as it was for full year 2010.

Key finished steel products with significant import increases in March 2011 compared to February include heavy structural shapes (up 124 percent), cold rolled sheets (up 75 percent), hot dipped galvanized sheet and strip (up 44 percent), oil country goods (up 32 percent)  and hot rolled sheets (up 29 percent). Major products with significant year-to-date import increases vs. the same period last year include oil country goods (up 85 percent) and reinforcing bar (up 74 percent).

In March, the largest volumes of finished steel imports from offshore were from South Korea (229,000, up 23 percent), Japan (113,000 NT, down 13 percent), Germany (96,000 up 35 percent), Brazil (73,000 NT, up 734 percent) and China (67,000, up 37 percent). For the first three months of 2011, the largest offshore suppliers were South Korea (630,000, up 76 percent), Japan (372,000 NT, up 11 percent) and Germany (264,000 NT, up 29 percent).  Below are charts on estimated steel import market share in recent months and on finished steel imports from offshore by country.

For a PDF of the press release containing tables and charts, click here.