U.S. steel imports declined 13.9 percent in December compared to November, according to preliminary government data compiled by the American Institute for International Steel (AIIS).
“Imports plummeted in December compared to November as many buyers backed out of the market when these products were ordered and instead minimized inventory as the end of the year approached. Steel buyers, like many in manufacturing in other sectors, also reacted cautiously as the so-called fiscal cliff approached at the end of the year. It is likely that import arrivals will remain at lower levels for some months due to the uncertainty caused by the fiscal cliff,” said AIIS President David Phelps in a statement.
Steel imports increased by 16.9 percent to 33.347 million tons in 2012 compared to 2011 based on the preliminary December import data.
“Steel imports in 2012 continued their advance from the depths of the Great Recession as domestic steel markets improved. Conditions in the auto, oil and gas as well as durable goods markets continued to improve in 2012 and the improvement is reflected in the healthier import numbers for the year,” Phelps said.
“The still-struggling non-residential construction market remains weak and as a result both domestic industry shipments and imports remain below robust levels,” he added.