May steel imports up, hit monthly high for the year
Based on preliminary Census Bureau data, the American Iron and Steel Institute (AISI) reported that the United States imported a total of 3,210,000 net tons (NT) of steel in May 2007, including 2,773,000 NT of finished steel (up 13 and 25 percent, respectively, vs. April 2007’s final data).
In both categories, the surge in May imports produced the highest monthly total for the year. While imports overall this year have declined versus the all-time record year of 2006, total and finished steel imports through the first five months of 2007, on an annualized basis, are up 10 and 15 percent, respectively, vs. 2005, which itself saw significant import levels. Key products with large increases in May versus April include wire rods (up 142 percent), reinforcing bars (up 90 percent), structural heavy shapes (up 50 percent), hot-rolled sheets (up 41 percent), cold-rolled sheets (up 37 percent) and numerous tubular products, including oil country goods and standard pipe (up 37 and 34 percent, respectively).
For May, the five largest foreign suppliers of finished steel from offshore were China (524,000 NT), South Korea (206,000 NT), Japan (155,000 NT), Brazil (134,000 NT) and Taiwan (110,000 NT).