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Understanding The Changing Dynamics Of US Steel Imports

Mohit Oberoi, CFA - Author

Aug. 18 2020, Updated 6:35 a.m. ET

Dynamics of US steel imports

In the previous part of this series, we looked at the major steel exporters to the United States. Now we’ll look at the changing dynamics of US steel imports.

The above chart shows the changing dynamics of US steel imports through October of this year. The changes are on a year-over-year basis. Steel imports from Russia have seen the largest percentage increase. A large portion of these imports is hot-rolled coil (or HRC). According to estimates, HRC imports from Russia have increased almost 25 times in the first nine months of this year. However, this should taper down next year since the United States has scrapped a preferential treaty with Russia.

This is expected to benefit companies such as AK Steel (AKS), U.S. Steel Corporation (X), and Steel Dynamics (STLD). Some of these companies are part of the SPDR S&P Metals and Mining ETF (XME).

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Steel imports from North America

Countries in North America are part of the North American Free Trade Agreement (or NAFTA). NAFTA countries have easy access to each other’s markets. US steel imports from North America have increased by 12% in the first ten months of the current year. The NAFTA region has historically been the biggest steel exporter to the United States. ArcelorMittal (MT) reports its financial results with NAFTA as a separate segment.

To find out more, you can read Why ArcelorMittal’s North American operations failed to impress.

Steel imports from Europe

US steel imports from Europe have seen the biggest increase on a year-over-year basis. Europe apparently has replaced NAFTA as the biggest steel exporting region to the United States. Steel imports from the United Kingdom and Turkey have increased sharply this year.

But why are steel imports from Europe increasing at such a rapid pace? Move to the next part to learn more.


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