AIIS: Steel Imports Sag Again in September; Sluggish Economy to Blame
“Steel imports declined in September, reflecting the generally sluggish economy as coincident imports from our NAFTA partners led the decline in imports from August. Notably, slab imports used by the domestic steel industry were reported as a significant reason for the decline, along with reductions in imports of OCTG, the subject of a AD/CVD case filed earlier in the year,” said David Phelps, president of AIIS.
Steel imports for the nine months of 2013 compared to the like period of 2012 were down by 7%. “The U.S. economy remains in a weakened condition at the end of the third quarter as reflected in the lower level of steel imports in 2013. Recent price increases across especially flat rolled product lines have improved domestic mill conditions and import ordering, but the improvement is probably more inventory related than reflective of an improvement in underlying demand it seems at this point. Until non-residential construction demand improves significantly, there appears little reason to conclude that the steel market will return to healthy levels of domestic shipments and imports,” concluded Phelps.
Total steel imports in September 2013 were 2.761 million tons compared to 2.878 million tons in August 2013, a 4.1% decrease, and a 6.1% increase compared to September 2012. For the year-to-date period, imports decreased from 25.686 million tons in the nine months of 2012 to 23.892 million tons in the same 2013 period, a 7% decrease. The data show that imported semi-finished products increased by 7.7% in September 2013 compared to September 2012, from 598 thousand tons in 2012 to 644 thousand tons in 2013, based on preliminary reporting. For the year- to -date period, imported semi-finished products decreased from 5.807 million tons in the first nine months of 2012 to 5.197 million tons in the same 2013 period, a 10.5% decrease.