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U.S. steel imports rise 18 percent in early 2023

A blast furnace in operation
A blast furnace in operation American Iron and Steel Institute

Based on preliminary Census Bureau data, the American Iron and Steel Institute (AISI) has reported that the U.S. imported a total of 2,607,000 net tons (NT) of steel in January 2023, including 2,000,000 NT of finished steel which is up 18.3 percent and 7.3 percent when compared to December 2022. Total and finished steel imports are down 14.4 percent and 12.2 percent respectively when compared to January 2022.

Over the 12-month period from February 2022 to January 2023, total and finished steel imports are down 5.2 percent and up 5.0 percent respectively, when compared to the prior 12-month period. The finished steel import market share was an estimated 24 percent in January 2023.

Key finished steel products with a significant import increase in January compared to December are heavy structural shapes (up 99 percent); cut lengths plates (up 83 percent); ingots, billets, and slabs (up 79 percent); sheets and strip all other metallic coatings (up 55 percent); and mechanical tubing (up 36 percent). Products with a significant increase in imports over the 12-month period include line pipe (up 47 percent), oil country goods (up 44 percent), standard pipe (up 39 percent), heavy structural shapes (up 39 percent), and wire rods (up 14 percent).

In January, the largest suppliers were Canada (593,000 NT, up 14 percent vs. December), Mexico (456,000 NT, up 10 percent), Brazil (395,000 NT, up 711 percent), South Korea (139,000 NT, down 40 percent), and Japan (136,000 NT, up 14 percent). Over the 12-month, the largest suppliers were Canada (6,875,000 NT, down 1 percent), Mexico (5,187,000 NT, up 5 percent), South Korea (2,796,000 NT, up 1 percent), Brazil (2,587,000 NT, down 34 percent) and Japan (1,275,000 NT, up 10 percent).

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