JUNE 2009

Steel imports decline

Based on preliminary Census Bureau data, the American Iron and Steel Institute (AISI) reported that the United States imported a total of 1,505,000 net tons (NT) of steel in March 2009, including 1,437,000 NT of finished steel (down 5 percent and 3 percent, respectively, vs. February final data). Total and finished steel imports on an annualized basis are down 32 percent and 22 percent, respectively, vs. 2008.

Imports Chart

Finished steel import market share is an estimated 29 percent in March, and an estimated 31 percent for Q1 2009.

Key products with increases in March 2009 compared to February include Reinforcing Bars (up 155 percent), Mechanical Tubing (up 46 percent), Hot Dipped Galvanized Sheet & Strip (up 28 percent), Line Pipe (up 24 percent) and Standard Pipe (up 24 percent). For Q1 2009 vs. same period last year, OCTG imports (led by China) increased 79 percent.

In March, the largest volume of finished imports from offshore was from China (196,000 NT, down 28 percent from February). The March tonnage from China was 14 percent of all finished imports and, based on the March data, finished steel imports from China in 2009 would annualize at 3.6 million NT. Other major offshore suppliers in March were Korea (135,000 NT, down 11 percent from March), Japan (107,000, up 7 percent), and India (83,000 NT, up 11 percent). For Q1 2009 vs. same period last year, finished imports increased significantly for a number of countries – including China (up by 78 percent).