October 2005

Year-to-date imports continue higher than last year

Washington, DC— Based on preliminary Census Bureau data, the American Iron and Steel Institute (AISI) reported that the U.S. imported a total of 2,470,000 net tons (NT) of steel in July, including 1,876,000 NT of finished steel. While imports in these categories were down 8.5 and 14.9 percent, respectively, compared to June 2005, key products that were up in July included bars-light shapes (up 49 percent) and wire rods (up 9 percent).

Year-to-date (YTD) total and finished imports compared to 2004 remain at 3.0 and 2.6 percent higher, respectively. Key product lines that have registered significant increases this year include metallic coated sheet & strip (up 63 percent), oil country tubular goods (up 56 percent), bars-cold finished (up 48 percent), tin plate (up 43 percent), plates-cut to length (up 33 percent), plate in coil (up 30 percent), structural pipe & tubing (up 20 percent), mechanical tubing (up 20 percent) and line pipe (up 20 percent). YTD finished imports are also up substantially from non-market economies and countries that historically subsidize their steel industries and intervene in steel, raw material and currency markets. This includes China (up 129 percent), Malaysia (up 106 percent), Ukraine (up 53 percent), Taiwan (up 32 percent) and Brazil (up 21 percent).

U.S. spot prices for hot- and cold-rolled sheet in July declined for the tenth month in a row, according to data publicly reported by Purchasing Magazine. The September 2004-July 2005 price declines for these products were 39.2 and 31.2 percent, respectively.

“While imports remain at elevated levels, we are seeing evidence daily of substantial new capacity increases abroad – with many of these projects apparently benefiting from government support,” commented John P. Surma, president and CEO of United States Steel Corporation and chairman of AISI.

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