November 2005

Steel import supplies remain high

Washington, DC— Based on preliminary Census Bureau data, the American Iron and Steel Institute (AISI) reported that the United States imported a total of 2,235,000 net tons (NT) of steel in August, including 1,871,000 NT of finished steel. While these categories were down 12.4 and 3.8 percent, respectively, compared to July 2005, individual products up in August included galvanized hot-dipped sheet & strip (up 40 percent), tin plate (up 25 percent), cold-rolled sheet (up 11 percent) and several tubular categories, including oil country goods (up 42 percent), standard pipe (up 40 percent) and structural pipe & tubing (up 21 percent).

Year-to-date (YTD) total and finished imports continue at a healthy pace, down 3.1 and 3.33 percent, respectively, compared to 2004. Key products with large YTD increases are cold finished bars (up 44 percent), galvanized electrolytic sheet & strip (up 39 percent), all other metallic coated sheet & strip (up 37 percent), tin plate (up 32 percent), cut-to-length plates (up 22 percent) and many tubular categories, including oil country goods (up 65 percent), mechanical tubing (up 18 percent), line pipe (up 17 percent) and structural pipe & tubing (up 14 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 -- e.g., from Malaysia (imports are up 100 percent), China (up 81 percent), Thailand (up 37 percent), Brazil (up 19 percent), Japan (up 17 percent), South Korea (up 14 percent) and Ukraine (up 14 percent).

At the same time, U.S. spot prices for hot and cold-rolled sheet in August declined for the eleventh month in a row, according to data reported by Purchasing Magazine. The September 2004-August 2005 price declines for these products were 42.5 and 34.3 percent, respectively.

"Steel remains in good supply in this market, imports continue at a brisk pace and imports in certain product areas have shown significant growth," said John P. Surma, president and CEO of United States Steel Corporation and chairman of AISI.

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