June 2008 steel imports up 7% from May 2008

Based on preliminary Census Bureau data, the American Iron and Steel Institute (AISI) reported that the United States imported a total of 2,675,000 net tons (NT) of steel in June 2008, including 2,068,000 NT of finished steel (up 7 percent and 1 percent, respectively, vs. May final data).


While total and finished steel imports through the first six months of 2008 are down 11 percent and 13 percent, respectively vs. the same period in 2007, the monthly average for finished imports in the most recent 3-month period (April-June 2008) is up 2 percent vs. the monthly average in the previous 3 months (January-March 2008). Total and finished imports on an annualized basis this year are each down 5 percent vs. 2007.

Key products with large increases in June compared to the month before include: Wire Rods (up 56 percent), Sheets & Strip All Other (up 53 percent), Standard Pipe (up 47 percent), Plates – Cut Lengths (up 27 percent), Bars – Hot Rolled (up 26 percent) and Reinforcing Bar (up 18 percent). For the first six months of 2008, products with significant increases vs. the same period in 2007 include Oil Country Goods (up 24 percent) and Line Pipe (up 16 percent).

In June, the largest volume of finished steel imports from offshore was from China (347,000 NT, up 20 percent from May). While steel imports from China in the first six months of 2008 are down 40 percent compared to the same period last year, June saw China register its highest monthly volume of the year. Much of this tonnage is in high-value steel products still receiving government export tax rebates (e.g., OCTG, line pipe and hot-dipped galvanized sheet).