US steel imports decreased by 15pc in 2019 to 28.6mn nt (29.9mn mt) compared with the previous year, according to the latest Steel Import Monitoring and Analysis (SIMA) data reported by the American Iron and Steel Institute. Finished steel imports also declined by 17.9pc to 21.08mn nt during the same period.
However, steel import permits increased on a monthly basis. The SIMA data indicated steel import permit applications rose to around 2.3mn nt in December 2019, increasing by 12.3pc from the 2.05mn nt recorded one month earlier, and a 47.8pc increase over the November final imports total of 1.56mn nt.
Finished steel import permits in December 2019 increased by 4.2pc to 1.38mn nt from November’s final imports total of 1.33mn nt. Permits for hot rolled steel, at 38pc of the total, saw the maximum increase when compared with November’s final imports, followed by plates in coils up 29pc, structural pipe and tubing that rose by 24pc, and line pipe, which increased by 14pc.
Compared with 2018, imports for black plate increased by110pc, steel piling was up by 37pc, and tin-free steel rose by 23pc in 2019.
The largest steel shipments in 2019 came from South Korea, which exported 2.6mn nt to the US, down by 6pc from 2018. Shipments from Japan decreased by 9pc to 1.25mn nt, while those from Germany fell by 22pc to 1.04mn nt when compared to 2018.
In December, South Korea was the largest exporter of steel to the US, shipping 199,000nt, followed by Japan and Germany, which shipped 81,000nt each, Brazil with 35,000nt in shipments, and the Netherlands with 30,000nt of steel shipped to the US.