MAY 2009

Steel imports decline in February

Based on preliminary Census Bureau data, the American Iron and Steel Institute (AISI) reported that the United States imported a total of 1,553,000 net tons (NT) of steel in February 2009, including 1,443,000 NT of finished steel (down 34 percent and 33 percent, respectively, vs. January final data). Total and finished steel imports on an annualized basis are down 26 and 17 percent, respectively, vs. 2008. Annualized total imports of steel in 2009 would be 21.6 million MT. Finished steel import market share is an estimated 29 percent in February, just below the 32 percent average in the fourth quarter of 2008.

U.S. Imports of Finished Steel Mill Products

Key products with increases in February 2009 compared to January include Electrical Sheet and Strip (up 42 percent), Cold finished Bars (up 22 percent), Plates in Coils (up 14 percent) and Hot Rolled Sheets (up 9 percent).

In February, the largest volume of finished imports from offshore was from China (268,000 NT, down 39 percent from January). The February tonnage from China was 19 percent of all finished imports and, based on the February data, finished steel imports from China in 2009 would annualize at 4.2 million NT.

Other major offshore suppliers in February were Korea (139,000 NT, down 47 percent from January), Japan (99,000, down 33 percent), India (75,000 NT, down 7 percent), Turkey (67,000 NT, down 40 percent) and Brazil (58,000 NT, up 39 percent).