US Steel Imports: A Declining Trajectory

Steel Imports
Steel ImportsImage Source: Alandia


The American Iron and Steel Institute reports a decrease in U.S. steel imports for September 2023 compared to August. The drop is 4.1% for total steel and 15.1% for finished steel. Year-to-date figures also show a decline, affecting key suppliers like Canada, Brazil, and Mexico.


Recent data from the American Iron and Steel Institute (AISI) shows a noticeable decline in steel imports into the U.S. In September 2023, the country imported 2,185,000 net tons of total steel and 1,579,000 net tons of finished steel. These figures mark a 4.1% and 15.1% decrease, respectively, compared to August 2023.

The trend seems to extend beyond just one month. When looking at the year-to-date numbers, total and finished steel imports have fallen by 9.8% and 15.0%, respectively, compared to 2022. In the 12-month period between October 2022 and September 2023, the decline is even steeper, at 12.4% for total steel and 15.4% for finished steel.

Specific steel products also show varying changes in import volumes. Hot rolled sheets saw an import increase of 49% in September compared to August, while ingots, billets, and slabs increased by 45%. However, over a 12-month period, line pipe imports are up by 19%, oil country goods by 16%, and cut lengths plates by 16%.

Let's also take a look at the key suppliers. For September, Canada led with 537,000 net tons (down 2% from August), followed by Brazil with 452,000 net tons (up 116%), Mexico with 358,000 net tons (down 2%), South Korea with 331,000 net tons (up 30%), and Japan with 66,000 net tons (down 30%).

For the entire 12-month period from October 2022 to September 2023, Canada remained the largest supplier, but its volume declined by 1% compared to the previous 12 months. Mexico supplied 4,425,000 net tons (down 22%), Brazil 3,519,000 net tons (up 28%), South Korea 2,634,000 net tons (down 10%), and Japan 1,217,000 net tons (down 2%).

Importantly, the market share for finished steel imports was estimated at 20% in September and stands at 22% for the first nine months of 2023. This highlights the level of dependency the U.S. still has on foreign steel, despite the overall decline in imports.


The U.S. is importing less steel, both in total and finished products. This decline isn't just a blip but seems to be part of a longer-term trend. Various factors could be influencing this decrease, including trade policies or shifts in domestic production. However, the U.S. still relies considerably on foreign suppliers, making it crucial to watch how this trend evolves.

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