Steel Imports Dip in August, But Up Over 50% for the Year
Imports of steel mill products declined in August compared to July by 11.2 percent, according to preliminary data released by the U.S. Department of Commerce and the American Institute for International Steel, McLean, Va. Total steel imports in August were 2.2 million tons, down from the 2.4 million tons in July, but up 121 percent from the same month in 2009.
The decline in month-on-month imports was led by a 21 percent decrease in imports of semifinished steel products from July to August, as some domestic mills reduced their purchases of overseas semifinished materials in advance of restarting their U.S. melt shops, says David Phelps, AIIS president.
"Total imports for the year-to-date period of 2010 compared to 2009 were up by 53.8 percent, reflecting improved market conditions over 2009. Tonnages remain at moderate levels, however, with the steel market's recovery spotty largely due to the weak and still declining nonresidential construction market. This remains a significant negative on the overall health of the American steel market," says Phelps.
The data show that imported semifinished products increased by 211.8 percent in August compared to the previous year. For the year-to-date period, semifinished imports increased from 823,000 tons in 2009 to 3,622,000 tons in 2010, a 340.1 percent jump.