Preliminary steel imports increase 6 percent in May, import market share at 21 percent

Based on preliminary U.S. Census Bureau data, the American Iron and Steel Institute (AISI) reported June 21 that the U.S. imported a total of 2,692,000 net tons (NT) of steel in May, including 1,838,000 NT of finished steel (up 6 percent and down 5 percent, respectively, from April final data). (Click here for a downloadable PDF of the original report, which includes steel market tables and charts.)

Annualized total and finished steel imports in 2011 would be 28.0 and 21.1 million NT, respectively, up 17 percent and 12 percent vs. 2010. Finished steel import market share in May was an estimated 21 percent and is also 21 percent year-to date.

Key finished steel products with significant import increases in May 2011 compared to April include wire rod (up 35 percent), plates in coils (up 23 percent), oil country goods (up 15 percent) and heavy structural shapes (up 14 percent).   Major products with significant year-to-date import increases vs. the same period last year include reinforcing bar (up 55 percent), oil country goods (up 41 percent) and hot rolled bars (up 25 percent).

In May, the largest volumes of finished steel imports from offshore were from South Korea (213,000 NT, down 31 percent), Japan (131,000 NT, up 16 percent), China (119,000 NT, up 23 percent), Germany (78,000 NT up 8 percent), and Turkey (69,000 NT, down 42 percent).   For the first 5 months of 2011, the largest offshore suppliers were South Korea (1,164,000 NT, up 58 percent), Japan (615,000 NT, up 12 percent) and Germany (415,000 NT, up 6 percent).  Below are charts on estimated steel import market share in recent months and on finished steel imports from offshore by country.