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February 2007

Asia sends record level of steel imports to U.S.

Based on preliminary Census Bureau data, the American Iron and Steel Institute (AISI) reported that the United States imported a total of 3,389,000 net tons (NT) of steel in November 2006, including 2,766,000 NT of finished steel (down 13 and 10 percent, respectively, vs. October’s final data). Year-to-date (YTD) imports in these categories are now up 45 and 46 percent, respectively, compared to the same period in 2005. On an annualized basis (based on YTD 2006 imports), total and finished steel imports (at 46 and 36.5 million NT, respectively) would set all-time records – easily surpassing the previous record of 41.5 million NT and 34.7 million NT set in 1998. Key products with large increases in November compared to the month before include pipe for piling (up 527 percent), rails standard (up 84 percent), hot rolled bars (up 14 percent), structural pipe and tubing (up 14 percent) and hot rolled strip (up 13 percent).

The rise in YTD 2006 imports compared to the previous year remains pronounced for Asia, including Taiwan (up 213 percent), Thailand (up 164 percent), China (up 135 percent), India (up 95 percent) and South Korea (up 60 percent). In November, for the fifth month, China was the largest source of steel imports to the United States (521,000 NT).

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