U.S. steel imports in January jumped 20.2 percent from a year earlier amid a strengthening economy and rising demand from steel users.
“Beginning last fall, the trend lines for the U.S. steel market all pointed up and prices rose, capacity was returned to the market, and now, after the normal lag for non-NAFTA imports, healthier import levels have also have arrived,” said David Phelps, president of the American Institute for International Steel.
Phelps said the statistics “help confirm the continued slow improvement in the U.S. economy and the steel market, supported by demand in the oil and gas, heavy equipment, auto and industrial goods sectors. While some of the improvement clearly is seasonal, we remain optimistic about near-term trends.”
January imports totaled 2.545 million tons, including 486,000 tons of semifinished products. Total imports were up 23.3 percent from December.
Steel imports in 2011 rose 18.9 percent year-over-year, according to the Commerce Department.