Steel imports increase 23 percent

Based on preliminary Census Bureau data, the American Iron and Steel Institute (AISI) reported that the United States imported a total of 1,204,000 net tons (NT) of steel in September 2009, including 1,024,000 NT of finished steel (up 23 percent and 25 percent, respectively, vs. August final data). These were the highest monthly import figures since April. Total and finished steel imports on an annualized basis are down 51 percent and 45 percent, respectively, vs. 2008. Annualized total imports of steel in 2009 would be 15.7 million NT. Finished steel import market share, which was an estimated 16 percent in September and year-to-date (YTD) through nine months is an estimated 23 percent.

Key finished steel products with increases in September 2009 compared to August include line pipe (99 percent), oil country goods (76 percent), cut length plates (52 percent), heavy structural shapes (45 percent), hot dipped galvanized sheets (43 percent) and hot rolled sheets (22 percent).

In September, the largest volumes of finished steel imports from offshore were from South Korea (64,000 NT, down 26 percent), Japan (51,000 NT, up 51 percent), Brazil (43,000 NT, up 17 percent) and Taiwan (42,000 NT, up 171 percent).