APRIL 2009

Finished steel imports increase by 15% in January 2009

Based on preliminary Census Bureau data, the American Iron and Steel Institute (AISI) reported that the United States imported a total of 2,343,000 net tons (NT) of steel in January 2009, including 2,134,000 NT of finished steel (up 13 percent and 15 percent, respectively, vs. December final data).

Total and finished steel imports on an annualized basis are down 12 and 1 percent, respectively, vs. 2008. Annualized total imports of steel in 2009 would be 28.1 million MT. The 15 percent increase in imports occurred while United States domestic facilities operated at a 44 percent utilization rate in January. Finished steel import market share surged to an estimated 36 percent in January, after averaging 32 percent average in the fourth quarter of 2008.

Key products with increases in January 2009 compared to December include Reinforcing Bar (up 295 percent), Heavy Structural Shapes (up 136 percent), Sheets and Strip All Other Metallic Coated (up 112 percent), Cold Rolled Sheets (up 52 percent) and Cut Length Plates (up 43 percent) and Line Pipe (up 25 percent).

In January, the largest volume of finished imports from offshore was from China (435,000 NT, down 10 percent from December).

Other major offshore suppliers in January were Korea (259,000 NT, up 130 percent from December), Japan (147,000, up 28 percent), Turkey (112,000 NT, up 55 percent), Germany (93,000 NT, up 12 percent) and India (80,000 NT, down 35 percent).