U.S. steel imports declined 14 percent in June compared to May, according to preliminary government data recently analyzed by the American Institute for International Steel (AIIS).
“The decline in imports from May of semi-finished steel represented half of the total month to month decline in June over the final import data for May. The June data reflect import ordering – both by the domestic mills and trading companies – during the late first and early second quarter when the steel market was softening,” said David Phelps, AIIS president, in a statement.
For the first half of 2013 compared to the same 2012 period, steel imports were down by nearly 11 percent, AIIS reported.
“Imports continue to be negatively affected by weak demand in most products and market sectors, reflecting the overall weakness of the economy and steel intensive sectors as well as the reticence of many consumers to add to inventory levels given overall concerns about the direction of the economy – with the notable exception of auto-related shipments of steel, which of course are dominated by the domestic mills. Recent announced price increases provide some optimism, but it is unclear at this point whether the improvement in conditions is due primarily to consumers and distributors restocking, which of course would suggest that the improvement would be short-lived,” Phelps explained.
Total steel imports in June were 2.441 million tons compared to 2.838 million tons in May, an 11 percent decrease, and a 13.4 percent decrease compared to June 2012. For the year-to-date period, imports decreased from 17.632 million tons in the first six months of 2012 to 15.713 million tons in the same 2013 period, an 10.9 percent decrease.
The data showed imported semi-finished products decreased by 21.1 percent in June compared to June 2012, from 616,000 tons in 2012 to 486,000 tons in 2013, based on preliminary reporting. Year-to-date, imported semi-finished products dropped from 4.027 million tons in the first three months of 2012 to 3.363 million tons in the same 2013 period, a 16.5 percent decrease, AIIS said.