April 2006

January steel imports continue upward trend

Washington, DC— Based on preliminary Census Bureau data for January, the American Iron and Steel Institute (AISI) reported that the United States imported a total of 3,145,000 net tons (NT) of steel in January 2005, including 2,349,000 NT of finished steel. Imports in these categories increased 7.7 and 7.1 percent, respectively, compared to December 2005 (9.2 and 8.6 percent, respectively, over January 2005).

Looking at a three-month rolling average (the most recent three month period compared to the previous three month period), the trend shows that finished steel imports overall are up 11.5 percent, and from certain countries, the upward trend is especially pronounced — e.g., Turkey (up 141 percent), Taiwan (up 94 percent), India (up 88 percent), China (up 38 percent) and South Korea (up 31 percent). On an annualized basis (based on January 2006), total steel imports would exceed 37.7 million NT, which would be the third highest year in history.

Key products with large increases in January compared to the month before include wire rods (up 107 percent), all other metallic coated sheet and strip (up 31 percent), bars-light shapes (up 23 percent), structural pipe and tubing (up 22 percent) and oil country tubular goods (up 15 percent).

United States spot prices in January 2006 for hot and cold-rolled sheet per ton declined slightly from the previous month (from $550 to $545, and from $640 to $627), according to data publicly reported by Purchasing Magazine. Year-over-year price declines for these products (January 2006 vs. January 2005) were 14.8 and 14.1 percent, respectively.


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