U.S. steel imports in October increased 8.4 percent compared to September based on preliminary data reported by the government and analyzed by the American Institute for International Steel.
“Steel imports jumped in October, as pricing for semi-finished steel products, used by the domestic industry to augment their raw steel capacity, strengthened this fall,” said Richard Chriss, AIIS' executive director, in a statement. “Semi-finished imports accounted for over three-fourths of the increase in the month-to-month comparison.
“While we believe that, for the most part, the improvement in market conditions reflects re-stocking by service centers and distributors — and not a real improvement in underlying demand — import arrivals reacted predictably during the month in response to improved market conditions,” he added. “Of note in the data was the decline in rebar arrivals and the decline in imports from both Turkey and Mexico, as the protectionist trade case filed against these imports began to hinder trade to the detriment of importers, logistics companies and rebar consumers. Moreover, the domestic industry appears to be returning to protectionist actions again, with trade case filings threatened.”
According to AIIS, steel imports for the year-to-date period declined 4.5 percent, while results for October 2012, compared to October 2013, increased by 17.3 percent.
“The year-to-date data show that the steel market is weaker in 2013 compared to 2012 overall, but the decline in market conditions late in 2012 stands in contrast to improving market conditions in late 2013. While underlying demand in late 2013 is stronger than in 2012, there is little reason to believe that the current conditions will be sustained unless or until the non-residential construction market returns to health — which most pundits believe will not happen until 2015,” Chriss said.
AIIS noted that total steel imports in October 2013 were 3.058 million tons, compared to 2.820 million tons in September 2013, an 8.4 percent increase, and a 17.3 percent increase compared to October 2012. For the year-to-date period, imports decreased from 28.293 million tons in the 10 months of 2012 to 27.008 million tons in the same 2013 period, a 4.5 percent decrease.