The USA imported a total of 3.43Mt (net tons) of steel during May, including 2.57Mt (net tons) of finished steel, up 2.5% and 1.8% respectively when compared with April 2017 final data compiled by the US Census Bureau.

A report by the American Iron and Steel Institute (AISI) claims that, year-to-date, for the first five months of the year, total and finished steel imports reached 15.7Mt and 12.05Mt (net tons), up 22.2% and 14.2% respectively when compared with 2016 figures.

The figures for May are based on preliminary Census Bureau data

The annualized total and finished steel imports in 2017 would be 37.8Mt and 28.9Mt (net tons), up 14.4% and 9.8%, respectively compared with 2016. Finished steel import market share was an estimated 27% in May and is estimated at 26% year-to-date.

According to the AISI, key finished steel products with significant import increases in May compared to April include cut lengths plates (up 46%), tin plate (up 45%), plates in coils (up 33%), line pipe (up 29%), standard pipe (up 19%), hot rolled bars (up 15%) and reinforcing bars (up 12%).

Major products with significant year-to-date import increases compared with the same period last year include oil country goods (up 227%), cold rolled sheets (up 38%), sheets and strip all other metallic coatings (up 36%), standard pipe (up 34%), sheets and strip hot dipped galvanised (up 27%), mechanical tubing (up 26%), line pipe (up 25%), hot rolled bars (up 24%) and tin plate (up 23%).

The largest volumes of exported finished steel in May came from South Korea (329kt – net tons), which was up 3% compared with April. The Turks exported 154kt (net tons), down 17%, and the Germans exported 142kt (net tons), up 26%. Meanwhile, Japanese exports to the USA were down 11% at 127kt (net tons) and Indian exports were up 84% at 86kt (net tons).

Over the first five months of 2017 the Koreans were still way ahead as the largest export to the USA with a figure of 1.53Mt (net tons) but down 3% compared with the same period in 2016. Turkey was still in second place with 1.14Mt (net tons) and up 14% on last year’s figure. The Japanese figure was down 8% at 650kt (net tons) and Taiwan was up 67% at 497kt (net tons). The German figure of 481kt was down 1%.