U.S. steel imports increased 0.6 percent in July compared to June, according to preliminary data released by the federal government and analyzed by the American Institute for International Steel (AIIS).
“Steel imports in July inched up by less than 1 percent as shipments from some non-NAFTA sources strengthened while NAFTA imports dropped, especially from Mexico. While the month-to-month improvement in arrivals for the month might be the beginning of a small upward trend in the market, imports remain substantially weaker than in 2012,” said David Phelps, AIIS president, in a statement.
Steel imports in the first seven months of 2013 compared to the same 2012 period were down 10.8 percent.
“While currently in a rebound for some products, demand in most steel markets has not returned even to 2012 levels for either the domestic industry or importers,” Phelps explained. “Imports might show some improvement later this year in response to improved pricing this summer, but we do not see underlying demand strengthening sufficiently enough to improve conditions for domestic or import suppliers to the market at this time.”
AIIS noted total steel imports in July were 2.474 million tons compared to 2.460 million tons in June, a 0.6 percent increase, and a 10.9 percent decrease compared to July 2012. For the year-to-date period, imports decreased from 20.409 million tons in the seven months of 2012 to 18.206 million tons in the same 2013 period, a 10.8 percent decrease.
The data show that imported semi-finished products decreased by 6.7 percent in July compared to July 2012, from 556,000 tons in 2012 to 519,000 tons in 2013, based on preliminary reporting. For the year-to-date period, imported semi-finished products decreased from 4.582 million tons in the first seven months of 2012 to 3.882 million tons in the same 2013 period, a 15.3 percent decrease, AIIS said.