U.S. steel exports held “steady” in June, as increases to minor trading partners offset decreases to Mexico and Canada, according to the American Institute for International Steel.
Total exports increased 0.5 percent from May to June to reach 1.04 million net tons, which was 2.2-percent lower than the June 2013 total.
Specifically, U.S. steel exports were down 6 percent to Mexico to 341,481 net tons and 4 percent to Canada to 536,502 net tons. “Compared to June 2013, these numbers represent an 8-percent increase for Mexico, and a 7-percent decline for Canada,” the association said.
Other countries, however, made up the difference, most notably Brazil, which more than doubled its imports of American steel to 19,891 net tons; Russia, which bought 6,092 net tons in June, more than six times the amount in the preceding month; and certain other countries in the Western Hemisphere, Asia and Africa.
For the first half of 2014, U.S. steel exports were down 6.5 percent from a year earlier to 6.06 million net tons. Year-to-date exports to Canada have declined 4 percent, while exports to Mexico have increased 2.5 percent.
“Exports to most other trading partners are down for the year, though two notable — and, perhaps, surprising — exceptions are Venezuela (up 139 percent) and Russia (up 123 percent). The raw numbers are still small, though: Venezuela and Russia combined accounted for just under 1 percent of all steel exports this year,” AIIS said.
Total U.S. steel exports in June 2014 were 1.041 million tons, compared to 1.036 million tons in May 2014, a 0.5-percent increase, and a 2.2-percent percent decrease, compared to June 2013. According to year-to-date figures, exports decreased 6.5 percent compared to 2013, or from 6.482 million tons in 2013 to 6.063 million tons in 2014.
AIIS also expressed concern about Russia’s trade sanctions announced this week.
“Specifically, we are concerned that Russia's actions yesterday may increase the likelihood that the revised U.S.-Russia agreement suspending the U.S. antidumping investigation on hot-rolled steel from the Russian Federation is in more significant jeopardy than it was before the Russian import bans were imposed. We strongly believe that any final Department of Commerce decision on whether to terminate this agreement should be made on the basis of an impartial assessment of the facts and evidence presented with respect to the request to terminate the agreement — which we believe is working as intended — and not on the basis of any geopolitical considerations,” the association said.