U.S. steel exports continued their slump in December 2012, down both year-over-year and month-to-month.
They fell 2.9 percent compared with November and 19.3 percent compared with December 2011, according to government data. In November, steel exports had declined nearly 16 percent from the level seen in October.
“Steel exports softened at the end of 2012 due to economic uncertainty in many international markets, very much mirroring the experience in the U.S. market,” said David Phelps, AIIS president, in a statement.
Despite the late-year decline, steel exports rose in 2012, reaching 13.7 million tons, up 2.2 percent from the year before.
“Steel exports set a new record in 2012, increasing 2.2 percent over the previous record year of 2008,” Phelps said. However, the slump at the end of the year is cause for concern, at least for early 2013 export business opportunities, he added.