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October 2007

July steel imports increase

Based on preliminary Census Bureau data, the American Iron and Steel Institute (AISI) reported that the U.S. imported a total of 3,222,000 net tons (NT) of steel in July 2007, including 2,452,000 NT of finished steel (up 6 and 2 percent, respectively, vs. June final data).

Total imports in July were the second highest monthly total for the year. While overall imports year-to-date this year have declined vs. the all-time record year of 2006, total and finished steel imports through the first seven months of 2007, on an annualized basis, remain up 12 and 15 percent, respectively, vs. 2005, which itself saw significant import levels. In addition, the 3-month rolling average of finished imports (monthly average of last 3 months vs. previous 3 months) is up by 12 percent.

Large increases in July 2007 vs. the month before include sheets and strip all other metallic coated (up 45 percent), plates cut length (up 42 percent), reinforcing bars (up 23 percent), line pipe (up 22 percent) and semi-finished steel, used in substantial quantities by converters and processors (up 21 percent).

In July, finished steel imports from China again exceeded those from all other foreign suppliers — including Canada. The five largest suppliers of finished steel from offshore in June were China (484,000 NT, down 5 percent vs. June), South Korea (199,000, up 3 percent), Taiwan (155,000, up 96 percent), Japan (144,000, up 21 percent) and Brazil (118,000, up 8 percent).