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U.S. Steel Imports Dip in August, Industry Remains at Risk

Imports of steel, which have been a pressing problem faced by the beleaguered American steel industry, dropped roughly 8% from the previous month in August, according to the American Iron and Steel Institute ("AISI"). The decline – a positive for the domestic steel industry – follows a roughly 5% rise in July.

AISI – an association of North American steel makers – said that, based on preliminary U.S. Census Bureau data, total U.S. steel imports for August was 3,016,000 net tons, an 8.2% decline from a month ago. That number includes finished steel imports of 2,439,000 net tons, which also fell 6.7% from July.

Market share of finished steel imports also fell on a monthly basis in August. Estimated market share of finished steel imports for the month was 26%, down from 27% in July. But year-to-date finished steel import market share was estimated at 31%, which is still higher than 28% recorded for full-year 2014.

The U.S. steel industry saw a year over year rise in finished steel imports for the first eight months of 2015. Finished steel imports for the period went up 7% year over year to roughly 22.91 million net tons. However, total imports for the same period fell 2% to around 28.02 million net tons.

Major finished steel products that showed a significant import increase on a monthly comparison basis in August are wire rods (up 45%), hot rolled sheets (up 29%), oil country goods (up 15%) and standard pipe (up 14%).

Biggest volumes of finished steel imports in August were from South Korea with 303,000 net tons (down 1% from July), Japan...