JULY 2009

Steel imports decline in April 2009

Based on preliminary Census Bureau data, the American Iron and Steel Institute (AISI) reported that the United States imported a total of 1,214,000 net tons (NT) of steel in April 2009, including 1,107,000 NT of finished steel (down 21 percent and 25 percent, respectively, vs. March final data). Total and finished steel imports on an annualized basis are down 37 percent and 28 percent, respectively, vs. 2008. Annualized total imports of steel in 2009 would be 20.1 million NT. Finished steel import market share was an estimated 25 percent in April and year-to-date (YTD) through four months is an estimated 30 percent.

Imports Chart

Key products with increases in April 2009 compared to March include Heavy Structural Shapes (up 15 percent), Cold Rolled Sheets (up 9 percent) and Tin Plate (up 5 percent). For YTD 2009 vs. same period last year, OCTG imports (led by China) are up 50 percent.

In April, the largest volume of finished imports from offshore was from China (98,000 NT, down 50 percent from March).

The April tonnage from China was 9 percent of all finished imports and, based on YTD data, finished steel imports from China in 2009 would annualize at 3.0 million NT. Other major offshore suppliers in April were Japan (84,000 NT, down 21 percent from April), India (79,000, down 5 percent), and Korea (71,000 NT, down 48 percent). For YTD 2009 vs. same period last year, finished imports are up significantly for a number of countries – including China (up by 33 percent).