August steel import figures lowest to date in 2009

Based on preliminary Census Bureau data, the American Iron and Steel Institute (AISI) reported that the United States imported a total of 855,000 net tons (NT) of steel in August 2009, including 786,000 NT of finished steel (down 14 percent and 12 percent vs. July final data).

These were the lowest monthly import figures to date in 2009. Total and finished steel imports on an annualized basis are down 51 percent and 44 percent.

Imports Chart

Annualized total imports of steel in 2009 would be 15.7 million NT. Finished steel import market share, which was an estimated 15 percent in August, remains at an estimated 24 percent year-to-date through 8 months.

Key finished steel products with increases in August 2009 compared to July include wire rods (up 86 percent), hot rolled sheets (up 44 percent) and cold rolled sheets (up 32 percent).

In August, the largest volumes of finished steel imports from offshore were from South Korea (84,000 NT, up 12 percent), Brazil (37,000 NT, up 358 percent) and China (30,000 NT, up 3 percent).

Based on the first eight months of 2009, finished imports from China would annualize at 1.9 million NT, which would be 61 percent less than in 2008 but above any other offshore supplier.