Preliminary steel import license data for February, released this week, slipped to the 1.5 million net ton range for total steel imports, according to the U.S. Department of Commerce. Steel Market Update’s last import update just one week ago had February imports at 1.9 million tons. This is the lowest monthly import level seen since December 2009 when final imports were at 1.4 million tons. Final February data usually varies only slightly from these preliminary figures, but the early effects of the coronavirus on the economy make this data unpredictable.

Finished steel imports in February are now at 1.4 million tons, down over January’s 1.6 million ton level and below the 2019 finished import average of 1.7 million tons. The latest February license data shows 150,000 tons of semi-finished product imports (mostly slabs).