The total imports of steel into the US decreased by 17.3pc to 27.905mn nt in 2019 compared to the prior year, according to American Iron and Steel Institute (AISI) data.
Finished steel shipments, which constitute 75pc of total steel imports, decreased by 18.1pc to 21.042mn nt in 2019 compared with 2018.
The AISI data, which analyzed preliminary US Census Bureau figures for US steel imports in December, indicated that the country imported a total of 1.553mn nt of steel in December 2019, down 0.5pc from the prior month. Around 87pc of these total shipments consisted of finished steel, which decreased by 1.2pc to 1.347mn mt over November 2019.
None of the finished steel categories reported an increase in imports, with ingots, billets, and slabs, which made up 24.5pc of total imports in 2019, decreasing 14.5pc to 6.846mn nt. Sheet and strip decreased 19.8pc to 2.437mn nt, OCTG dropped by 16pc to 2.354mn nt, hot rolled sheet fell by 27.6pc to 1.883mn nt, and line pipe decreased 16.9pc to 1.825mn nt.
On a monthly basis, plates in coils imports increased by 41pc to 96,705nt in December 2019, compared with November, while hot rolled sheets rose 27pc to 164,987nt, cold rolled sheets imports were up by 22pc to 140,555nt, and cut lengths plates rose by 18pc to 47,023nt.
The top three finished steel lines with a significant percent decrease in December compared to the previous month were rebar, down 25.8pc to 45,613nt, sheets and strip, down 25.2pc to 31,256, and hot rolled bars that were down 14.9pc to 66,727nt.
In 2019, the US imported 30pc of its steel volumes from South Korea (2.576mn nt) down 6.8pc compared with 2018, Japan (1.242mn nt) which declined 10.2pc from the prior year, Germany (1.048mn nt) down 21.7pc from the prior year, Taiwan (0.828mn nt), 22.5pc down from last year, and Vietnam, which at 0.663mn nt declined 40.2pc against the previous year.
Long finished products reported the greatest decline on a quarter basis, with line pipe decreasing 43.5pc in Q4 2019 compared with Q3, rebar decreasing 34.8pc, and OCTG decreasing 32.6pc during the same period.