SEOUL: The Korea Iron and Steel Association announced on March 16 that South Korea imported 1.776 million tons of steel products last month, 10.9% more than a year ago. The rate of year-on-year increase was the highest since August 2015, when the imports had increased by 13.8%.
The steel product imports rebounded in December last year and edged down 0.1% in the following month after having declined for three months in a row. In February this year, the imports from China, which account for 58.6% of the total, increased 15.2% to 1.041 million tons while the imports from Japan fell 3% to 552,000 tons.
By item, the hot-rolled steel plate imports from Japan and China rose by 42.2% and 12.7% to 264,000 tons and 241,000 tons, respectively. The latter continued to increase, causing the total hot-rolled steel plate imports to show an increase of 29.1% to 524,000 tons.
In the meantime, the medium and thick plate imports from China rose by 4.3% to 147,000 tons whereas those from Japan fell by 16.1% to 52,000 tons with the total medium and thick plate imports decreasing 0.5% from a year ago. The association explained that South Korean steelmakers increased their imports for a larger inventory ahead of the upcoming peak season.