MARCH 2010

Finished steel imports up 11 percent in December

Based on preliminary Census Bureau data, the American Iron and Steel Institute (AISI) reported that the United States imported a total of 1,396,000 net tons (NT) of steel in December 2009, including 1,119,000 NT of finished steel (up 1 percent and 11 percent, respectively, vs. November final data). Total and finished steel imports for full year 2009 were 16.2 and 14.2 million NT, respectively, down 49 and 45 percent vs. 2008. In a domestic steel market that remains severely depressed, finished steel import market share was an estimated 17 percent in December and an estimated 22 percent for the year as a whole – down only slightly from 2008 (24 percent) and the same as in 2007.

Key finished steel products with increases in December 2009 compared to November include wire rods (52 percent), hot rolled bars (39 percent), cut length plates (32 percent), oil country goods (24 percent) and standard pipe (21 percent).

In December, the largest volumes of finished steel imports from offshore were from South Korea (104,000 NT, down 2 percent), Japan (103,000 NT, up 86 percent), Italy (49,000 NT, up 13 percent), China (47,000 NT, down 23 percent) and Germany (43,000 NT, up 35 percent). In 2009, finished steel imports from China were 1.5 million NT, 70 percent less than in 2008 but more than any other offshore supplier. Following China were offshore finished steel imports from other Asian suppliers South Korea (1.2 million), Japan (926,000) and India (551,000).