December steel imports down 14 percent
Based on preliminary Census Bureau data, the American Iron and Steel Institute (AISI) reported that the U.S. imported a total of 2,339,000 net tons (NT) of steel in December, including 1,654,000 NT of finished steel (down 14 percent and 19 percent, respectively, from November final data). Preliminary total and finished steel imports for 2012 are 33.3 and 25.7 million NT, up 17 percent and 18 percent, each, respectively vs. 2011. Finished steel import market share in December was an estimated 20 percent and is estimated at 24 percent for full year 2012.
A key finished steel product with a significant import increase in December 2012 compared to November is hot rolled sheets (up 37 percent). Major products with significant full year 2012 import increases vs. 2011 include reinforcing bar (up 49 percent), line pipe (up 40 percent), sheets & strip galvanized hot dipped (up 36 percent), oil country goods (up 24 percent), sheets and strip all other metallic coatings (up 22 percent) and cut lengths plates (up 19 percent).
In December, the largest volumes of finished steel imports from offshore were all from Asia and Europe. They were China (164,000 NT, up 3 percent), South Korea (134,000 NT, down 55 percent), Germany (92,000 NT, down 9 percent), Japan (80,000 NT, down 44 percent) and Turkey (49,000 NT, down 56 percent). For full year 2012, the largest offshore suppliers were South Korea (3,626,000 NT, up 28 percent), Japan (1,924,000 NT, up 30 percent), China (1,646,000 NT, up 34 percent), Turkey (1,347,000 NT, up 84 percent) and Germany (1,245,000 NT, up 31 percent).