U.S. steel imports increased in August compared to July by 13.8 percent, according to preliminary government data reviewed by the American Institute for International Steel (AIIS).
“Improved market conditions during the summer are reflected in these data, as close-by NAFTA producers led the increase in imports in response to increased demand and improved pricing. Semi-finished imports, imported for further processing by domestic mills, posted a strong improvement during the month too, increasing by nearly 30 percent,” said David Phelps, AIIS president, in a statement.
For the year-to-date period, steel imports decreased by 8.5 percent compared to the same period in 2012.
“Year-to-date imports in 2013 remained below levels experienced in 2012,” Phelps said. “With slightly weaker demand and inventory depletion depressing both domestic and import supply during most of 2013, the improvement during the summer appeared to have been mostly related to inventory restoration, but recent developments suggest that there appears to be some underlying improvement in demand - especially for flat rolled products - potentially providing for better market conditions going forward.
“We believe that there should be more positive results for offshore imports in coming months responding to improve conditions during the summer. Whether underlying demand improvements are solidified at the end of the third quarter and into the fourth, remains to be seen,” he added.
Total steel imports in August 2013 were 2.870 million tons compared to 2.521 million tons in July 2013, a 13.8 percent increase, and a 7.3 percent increase compared to August 2012. For the year-to-date period, imports decreased from 23.083 million tons in the eight months of 2012 to 21.122 million tons in the same 2013 period, an 8.5 percent decrease, according to AIIS.
The data showed imported semi-finished products increased by 7.2 percent in August 2013 compared to August 2012, from 626,000 tons in 2012 to 671,000 tons in 2013, based on preliminary reporting. For the year-to-date period, imported semi-finished products decreased from 5.208 million tons in the first eight months of 2012 to 4.553 million tons in the same 2013 period, a 12.6 percent decrease, AIIS noted.