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September 2007

First half steel imports continue at a high level

Based on preliminary Census Bureau data, the American Iron and Steel Institute (AISI) reported that the United States imported a total of 2,882,000 net tons (NT) of steel in June 2007, including 2,296,000 NT of finished steel.

While overall imports for the first half of this year have declined vs. the all-time record year of 2006, total and finished steel imports through the first six months of 2007, on an annualized basis, remain up 10 and 14 percent, respectively, vs. 2005, which itself saw significant import levels.

Large increases in June 2007 vs. the month before (when imports saw the highest monthly total for the year) include semi-finished steel, used in substantial quantities by converters and processors (up 33 percent) and tin plate (up 52 percent). Key products with large first half increases in 2007 vs. the same period in record year 2006 include electrical sheets & strip and sheets & strip, all other metallic coated (up 46 and 14 percent, respectively), tin plate and tin free steel (up 15 and 10 percent, respectively), standard rails (up 22 percent) and numerous tubular products, including line pipe, stainless pipe & tubing and pressure tubing (up 75, 27 and 22 percent, respectively).

In June, finished steel imports from China exceeded those from all other foreign suppliers, including Canada.

The five largest suppliers of finished steel from offshore in June were China (501,000 NT, down 7 percent vs. May), South Korea (186,000, down 11 percent), Germany (114, 000 NT, up 10 percent), Japan (110,000 NT, down 30 percent) and Brazil (109,000 NT, down 22 percent).