July steel imports up 4 percent vs. June 2008

Based on preliminary Census Bureau data, the American Iron and Steel Institute (AISI) reported that the United States imported a total of 2,842,000 net tons (NT) of steel in July 2008, including 2,177,000 NT of finished steel (up 4 and 3 percent, respectively, vs. June final data).

While total and finished steel imports through the first seven months of 2008 are down 11 percent and 13 percent, respectively, vs. the same period in 2007, the monthly average for finished steel imports in the most recent 3-month period (May-July 2008) is up 1 percent vs. the monthly average in the previous 3 months (February-April 2008). Total and finished steel imports on an annualized basis this year are down 3 and 4 percent vs. 2007.

Key products with large increases in July compared to the month before include: Sheet & Strip–All Other (up 36 percent), Reinforcing Bar (up 30 percent), Oil Country Goods (up 18 percent), Sheet & Strip–Hot Dipped Galvanized (up 14 percent) and Plates in Coils (up 14 percent). For the year-to-date in 2008, products with significant increases vs. 2007 include Oil Country Goods (up 32 percent) and Line Pipe (up 14 percent).

In July, the largest volume of finished steel imports from offshore was from China (316,000 NT, down 14 percent from June). While steel imports from China in the first 7 months of 2008 are down 38 percent compared to the same period last year, Chinese imports for the most recent 3-month period (July-May) are up 48 percent compared to the prior 3 months (April-February).