Steel Surge: USA Import Metrics Unleashed

Steel Imports
Steel ImportsImage Source: DNV


Based on initial Census Bureau data, the American Iron and Steel Institute reveals that in December 2023, the U.S. imported 2,082,000 metric tons of steel, including 1,614,000 net tons of finished steel, marking a 2.6% and 7.7% increase from November 2023, respectively. Full-year 2023 saw total and finished steel imports at 28,156,000 and 21,694,000 net tons, down by 8.7% and 14.1% compared to 2022. Finished steel import market share is estimated at 21% for the entire year.


In a recent revelation based on preliminary Census Bureau data, the American Iron and Steel Institute (AISI) reports a notable surge in steel imports to the United States in December 2023. The figures indicate an influx of 2,082,000 net tons of steel, with finished steel accounting for 1,614,000 net tons. These metrics signify a substantial uptick of 2.6% and 7.7%, respectively, compared to the preceding month of November 2023.

Despite the robust surge in December, the overall landscape for steel imports in the year 2023 witnessed a decline. Total steel imports for the full year amounted to 28,156,000 net tons, marking an 8.7% reduction compared to the figures from 2022. Similarly, finished steel imports, totaling 21,694,000 net tons for the year, experienced a notable decline of 14.1%.

Delving into the specifics of the import market, the finished steel sector is estimated to have secured a market share of 21% for the entirety of 2023. This indicates a marginal increase from the December estimate of 20%, portraying a resilient stance for finished steel in the face of dynamic market conditions.

Analyzing the key steel products that witnessed a substantial surge in December compared to November, noteworthy categories include oil country goods (up 52%), hot-rolled sheets (up 38%), plates in coils (up 28%), line pipe (up 27%), and cut lengths plates (up 21%). Furthermore, the annual statistics for 2023 reveal a significant surge in imports for cut lengths plates (up 20%) and ingots, billets, and slabs (up 16%).

Examining the major suppliers in December, Canada led with 539,000 net tons (up 1% from November), followed by Brazil (335,000 net tons, down 12%), Mexico (291,000 net tons, up 18%), South Korea (269,000 net tons, up 91%), and Germany (106,000 net tons, up 103%). For the entire year of 2023, Canada retained its position as the largest supplier with 6,885,000 net tons, remaining unchanged from 2022.

Mexico supplied 4,184,000 net tons (down 21%), Brazil delivered 3,942,000 net tons (up 54%), South Korea contributed 2,637,000 net tons (down 6%), and Japan provided 1,189,000 net tons (down 6%). The following charts offer a visual breakdown of steel imports by country and the estimated finished steel import market share for recent months.


The surge in steel imports, as reported by the American Iron and Steel Institute (AISI), paints a dynamic picture for the U.S. steel market. While December showcased a robust increase in both total and finished steel imports, the annual figures for 2023 reveal a nuanced landscape, marked by declines. Nevertheless, the resilient performance of finished steel, with an estimated market share of 21%, underscores its significance in navigating the complexities of the global steel trade. The year 2023 witnessed shifts in key product categories and supplier dynamics, shaping the trajectory of the U.S. steel market.

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