July preliminary data show large import increases in several key products
Based on preliminary Census Bureau data, the American Iron and Steel Institute (AISI) reported that the U.S. imported a total of 2,582,000 net tons (NT) of steel in July, including 2,028,000 NT of finished steel (down 8 percent each, respectively, from June final data). Year-to-date (YTD) finished steel imports, however, are up 19 percent vs. the same period in 2011. Annualized total and finished steel imports in 2012 would be 34.7 and 26.8 million NT, respectively, up 22 and 23 percent, each, respectively vs. 2011. Finished steel import market share in July was an estimated 23 percent and is estimated at 24 percent YTD.
Key finished steel products with a significant import increase in July 2012 compared to June are plates in coils (up 23 percent), line pipe (up 22 percent) and cold finished bars (up 12 percent). Major products with significant YTD import increases vs. the same period last year include reinforcing bar (up 54 percent), line pipe (up 45 percent), plates – cut lengths (up 42 percent), oil country goods (up 36 percent) and sheets & strip galvanized hot dipped (up 32 percent).
In July, the largest volumes of finished steel imports from offshore were all from Asia and Europe. They were South Korea (285,000 NT, down 9 percent), Japan (169,000 NT, up 12 percent), China (116,000 NT, down 41 percent), Italy (95,000 NT, up 56 percent) and Germany (87,000 NT, down 30 percent). For the first 7 months of 2012, the largest offshore suppliers were South Korea (2,171,000 NT, up 20 percent), Japan (1,171,000 NT, up 31 percent), Turkey (939,000 NT, up 94 percent), China (923,000 NT, up 29 percent) and Germany (724,000 NT, up 27 percent).