Total steel imports into the US fell by 23.1pc to 2.4mn nt (2.17mn mt) in January 2020 against the same year-ago month as finished steel imports fell by 24.8pc to 1.6mn nt in the same time frame, according to the American Iron & Steel Institute (AISI).
Within the top 10 categories based on monthly import volume, rebar shipments increased by 1.6pc while all other categories declined in January against the same prior-year month. Ingots, billets, and slabs dropped by 21.3pc to 1.2mn nt last month from January 2020 while galvanized sheets and strip declined by 33.3pc to 164,809nt.
During the same period under review, hot-rolled sheet imports decreased by 23.1pc to 133,521nt, followed by plates in coil down by 3.3pc to 82,616nt, oil country goods (OCTG) (36.1pc to 81,876nt), cold-rolled sheet (49.7pc to 71,585nt), hot-rolled bars(4pc to 62,810nt), wire drawn (1.1pc to 60,047nt), and all other metallic (16.9pc to 58,669nt).
Total steel imports increased by 62.2pc in January compared to the previous month though net imports rose only 7.5pc due to a surge in semi-finished steel as finished steel products. In January 2020, semi-finished steel shipments increased by 674.4pc from the previous month while galvanized sheets and strip rose by 5.6pc, hot-rolled sheets declined by 18.5pc, and rebar climbed by 120.9pc.
The highest volumes of finished steel imports in January were from South Korea at 131,000nt, followed by Turkey at 82,000nt, Japan at 46,000nt, Brazil at 42,000nt, and the UAE at 31,000nt.
Compared to December 2020 final volumes imports from South Korea declined by 41pc in January, and were down by 17pc from Japan. During the same period, imports increased from Turkey by 498pc, from Brazil by 8pc, and from the UAE by 152pc.
The top three finished steel importing countries constituted 20.9pc of total finished steel imports with South Korea capturing 10.6pc of the market share. Other countries included Taiwan, China, and Vietnam entailed 67pc of finished steel imports.
For the past 12 months, cumulative finished steel imports fell by 7.9pc to 14.9mn nt against 16.1mn nt in the same period a year ago. Total imports during this period increased by 32 pc due to a 141.7pc surge in semi-finished steel to 14.2mn nt from 5.9mn nt in the same time frame a year ago. The imports of bars increased by 20.2pc and plates in coils rose by 23.6pc to 1.3mn nt and 1mn nt, respectively, in during the same time frame.