May 2005

Imports down in February 2005 but year-to-date totals increased from last year

Washington, DC— Based on preliminary Census Bureau data, the American Iron and Steel Institute (AISI) reported that the U.S. imported a total of 2,361,000 net tons (NT) of steel in February, including 1,727,000 NT of finished steel. While imports in these categories declined 18 and 20.2 percent, respectively, compared to January 2005, (1) year-to-date (YTD) total and finished imports compared to 2004 are up 21.4 and 19.7 percent, respectively, and (2) YTD imports are up significantly in a number of key finished product categories. Comparing YTD data for 2005 versus 2004, imports of hot-rolled sheet, for example, have increased by 36 percent. Other substantial increases are in galvanized (hot-dipped) sheet & strip (up 124 percent), plates in coil (up 100 percent), sheet & strip – all other metallic coated (up 100 percent), cold-rolled sheet (up 90 percent), tin plate (up 63 percent), structural pipe & tubing (up 45 percent), oil country goods (up 44 percent) and cold-finished bar (up 39 percent).

Meanwhile, U.S. spot prices for hot and cold-rolled sheet in February declined for the fifth month in a row, according to public data reported by Purchasing Magazine. The September 2004-February 2005 price declines for these products were 17.7 and 12.2 percent, respectively.

“Enforcing our trade laws is more critical now than ever,” John P. Surma, president and CEO of United States Steel Corporation and chairman of AISI said. “This industry needs a market environment, free from the effects of unfair trade, if it is going to truly recover, make up for foregone investments, and see the current revitalization take hold.”

“The President’s decision to continue the steel import monitoring program was both timely and appropriate,” Surma concluded. “Having accurate and up-to-date data regarding imports will benefit all market participants, and is particularly important given continued high import levels and significant announced capacity expansion projects abroad.”


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