AIIS: U.S. Imports Increase in August, Reflecting Improved Market Conditions
“Improved market conditions during the summer are reflected in these data, as close-by NAFTA producers led the increase in imports in response to increased demand and improved pricing. Semifinished imports, imported for further processing by domestic mills, posted a strong improvement during the month too, increasing by nearly 30%,” said David Phelps, president, AIIS.
For the year-to-date period, steel imports decreased by 8.5% compared to the like period in 2012. “Year-to-date imports in 2013 remained below levels experienced in 2012. With slightly weaker demand and inventory depletion depressing both domestic and import supply during most of 2013, the improvement during the summer appeared to have been mostly related to inventory restoration, but recent developments suggest that there appears to be some underlying improvement in demand — especially for flat rolled products — potentially providing for better market conditions going forward. We believe that there should be more positive results for offshore imports in coming months responding to improve conditions during the summer. Whether underlying demand improvements are solidified at the end of the third quarter and into the fourth, remains to be seen,” concluded Phelps.
Total steel imports in August 2013 were 2.870 million tons compared to 2.521 million tons in July 2013, a 13.8% increase, and a 7.3% increase compared to August 2012. For the year-to-date period, imports decreased from 23.083 million tons in the eight months of 2012 to 21.122 million tons in the same 2013 period, an 8.5% decrease.
The data show that imported semifinished products increased by 7.2% in August 2013 compared to August 2012, from 626 thousand tons in 2012 to 671 thousand tons in 2013, based on preliminary reporting. For the year- to - date period, imported semifinished products decreased from 5.208 million tons in the first eight months of 2012 to 4.553 million tons in the same 2013 period, a 12.6% decrease.
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