Steel imports fell again in March by 1.3 percent compared to February, based on preliminary U.S. government reporting analyzed by the American Institute for International Steel (AIIS).
“After months of declines in arrivals in response to weak economic conditions and steel demand, the only good news in the latest report is that the decline is noticeably smaller, and imports from our NAFTA partners showed an increased, hopefully portending better news going forward. The long-awaited spring rebound in construction may be evidenced in the increase in imports of rebar,” said David Phelps, AIIS president, in a statement.
Steel imports for the first quarter of 2013, compared to 2012, declined by 11.7 percent.
“The dramatic level of tax and public policy uncertainty clearly affected the U.S. economy and steel market early in 2013 and played a significant role in delaying the normal seasonal rebound,” Phelps said. “The data for the first quarter show the impact of delayed decision-making by corporations in these lower levels of steel imports. We remain optimistic about the market strengthening as we move through the second quarter.”
Total steel imports in March 2013 were 2.475 million tons compared to 2.508 million tons in February 2013, 1.3 percent decrease, and a 19.3 percent decrease compared to March 2012. For the year-to-date period, imports decreased from 8.603 million tons in the first three months of 2012 to 7.6 million tons in the same 2013 period, an 11.7 percent decrease, according to AIIS.
The data show imported semi-finished products decreased by 40.1 percent in March 2013 compared to March 2012, from 850,000 tons in 2012 to 509,000 tons in 2013, based on preliminary reporting. For the year-to-date period, imported semi-finished products decreased from 2.099 million tons in the first three months of 2012 to 1.604 million tons in the same 2013 period, a 23.6 percent decrease, AIIS said.