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September 2006


First half imports up 33 percent, may set all-time record

Washington, DC— Based on preliminary Census Bureau data for June, the American Iron and Steel Institute (AISI) reported that the United States imported a total of 3,372,000 net tons (NT) of steel in June 2006, including 2,888,000 NT of finished steel (down 14.4 and 9.2 percent, respectively, vs. May’s final data). First half, year-to-date (YTD), imports in these categories remain up 33 and 32 percent, respectively, compared to YTD imports for the same period in 2005.

Looking at a 3-month rolling average, finished steel imports overall are up 10 percent, with notable increases in plates in coil (up 78 percent), tin plate (up 39 percent), mechanical tubing (up 31 percent), line pipe (up 30 percent), cold rolled sheets (up 22 percent), cold finished bars (up 22 percent), cut-length plates (up 20 percent), sheets & strip all other metallic coated (up 16 percent), hot rolled sheets (up 15 percent) and hot rolled bars (up 15 percent).

The rising trend remains pronounced for countries with a history of unfair trading, especially in Asia — including India (up 56 percent), Taiwan (up 32 percent) and China (up 12 percent), where imports (on an annualized basis) are on a pace to exceed 4 million tons. On an annualized basis (based on YTD 2006 imports), total and finished steel imports (at 44.6 and 35.2 million NT, respectively) would set all-time records.

Key products with large increases in June compared to the month before include tin plate (up 53 percent), wire rods (up 50 percent), cold rolled sheets (up 16 percent), sheets & strip all other metallic coated (up 16 percent) and cold finished bars (up 14 percent). Finished steel products with sizable YTD increases compared to 2005 include reinforcing bars (up 95 percent), heavy structural shapes (up 79 percent), cold rolled sheets (up 72 percent), hot rolled sheets (up 56 percent), galvanized hot dipped sheets & strip (up 40 percent), cut-length plates (up 41 percent), plates in coil (up 37 percent), bars- light shapes (up 36 percent) and numerous pipe and tube categories — including line pipe, oil country goods and standard pipe (up 30, 25 and 24 percent, respectively).

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