U.S. steel exports declined 3.8 percent in February 2013 compared to January, according to government data analyzed by the American Institute for International Steel (AIIS).
“Weakness in NAFTA markets showed up powerfully in the February data, with the decline to our NAFTA partners more than the total decline for the month. Increases in exports to the much smaller markets in the rest of the Western Hemisphere, along with a slight improvement in exports to Europe and Africa offset some of the large decline experienced in exports to North American markets,” said David Phelps, president of AIIS, in a statement.
For the year-to-date data through February, steel exports declined by 14.5 percent. “The stalled economic recovery in North America, along with the serious problems facing our European trading partners have put a damper on steel exports so far this year. While we expect the U.S. market to improve later and Asia to regain momentum, there is little expectation at this point that European markets will become healthy in 2013, limiting exports to that small export market for U.S.-made steel,” Phelps said.
“We would expect that given the lag in orders to actual export shipments, it will take some more months before the data show improvements however. We are hopeful that exports will improve as we move into the summer months,” he added.
Total steel exports in February were 1.036 million tons compared to 1.077 million tons in January, a 3.8 percent decrease, and a 14.4 percent decrease compared to February 2012. According to year-to-date figures, exports decreased 14.5 percent compared to 2012 or from 2.473 million tons in 2012 to 2.114 million tons in 2013.