US Steel Imports Spiked in 2017

The United States is the world’s largest steel importer. In 2016, the U.S. imported 30.1 million metric tons (mmt) of steel. In the first 11 months of 2017, US steel imports have spiked roughly 18%. According to the American Iron and Steel Institute (AISI), through eleven months of 2017 the U.S. imported a total of 35,632,000 tons (NT) of steel.

In November, the largest volumes of finished steel imports from offshore were from South Korea (210,000 NT, down 47% from October final), Germany (141,000 NT, down 10%), Japan (115,000 NT, up 59%), The Netherlands (110,000 NT, up 124%) and Brazil (98,000 NT, up 5%). For the first eleven months of 2017, the largest offshore suppliers were South Korea (3,558,000 NT, up 0.4% vs. the same period in 2016), Turkey (2,133,000 NT, down 6%), Japan (1,422,000 NT, down 16%), Germany (1,301,000 NT, up 18%) and Taiwan (1,204,000 NT, up 29%). Below are charts on estimated steel import market share in recent months and on finished steel imports from offshore by country.

While the U.S. Department of Commerce has made several ruling imposing duties on additional steel products since the start of 2017, imports continue to flow into the domestic market due to foreign producers’ overcapacity. These cheap imports are hurting the margins of American steel players. According to AISI data, steel imports from China fell roughly 5% year over year through the first eleven months of 2017. However, imports from other countries such as Germany, Taiwan, Brazil and South Korea have spiked over this period.

On December 5th, Commerce Department announced heavy taxes on steel imports from Vietnam, saying certain steel products Vietnam is selling to the U.S. are being produced from Chinese materials.