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Steel Industry Midyear Update: Key Investor Takeaways

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Part 7
Steel Industry Midyear Update: Key Investor Takeaways PART 7 OF 14

Steel Imports Decline 16% Year-Over-Year in May

Steel imports

Previously, we found that steel demand from major steel consumers, with the notable exception of the energy sector, is quite robust. The momentum is expected to continue in the coming few months as well. In this part of the series, we’ll analyze the biggest challenge that the US steel industry has faced for the last couple of years.

Steel Imports Decline 16% Year-Over-Year in May

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Steel imports surged

The above chart shows the US steel import levels for the last year. Last year, steel imports increased 27% year-over-year, raising concerns that steel imports could also remain at elevated levels this year.

The January trade data lent credence to this concern, and US steel imports increased by a whopping 37%. In January, US steel imports were ~4 million tons (or Mt). However, after the surge in January, US steel imports have declined month-over-month in all months until May.

May steel imports decline 16% year-over-year

In May, preliminary steel imports were a little over 3 Mt, a decline of more than 16% over the last year. This is a positive sign for the US steel industry. In March, top executives of US Steel (X), Nucor (NUE), and ArcelorMittal (MT) presented their case before the bipartisan Congressional Steel Caucus, which represents major steel-producing states. In particular, they briefed the members of the caucus on the surge of steel imports into the United States.

More steel imports also negatively affected the performance of the SPDR S&P Metals and Mining ETF (XME). Timken Steel (TMST) currently forms ~1.9% of XME.

Now, a new trade bill could give the US steel companies more teeth in their fight against steel imports. In the next part, we’ll explore the implications of this bill.

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