U.S. steel Imports increased by 5.6 percent in May from April, according to preliminary government figures.
“The increase in imports in May reflected improved steel market conditions, principally in the flat rolled market, as semi-finished imports by domestic mills jumped by 38 percent in response,” said David Phelps, president of the American Institute for Imported Steel. He said finished imports declined in May.
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Phelps said year-to-date imports continue to reflect stronger demand and pricing, with nearly half of the increase coming from increases in imported semi-finished steel as domestic mills augment their hot end melting capacity in response to improved conditions. “While there is currently a pause in the marketplace, data through May clearly show the slow but steady improvement in the steel market so far in 2011, except of course for non-residential construction,” he said.
Total steel imports in May 2011 were 2.691 million tons compared to 2.549 million tons in April 2011, a 5.6 percent increase, and a 17.3 percent increase compared to May 2010.
Year-to-date imports increased 20.6 percent compared to 2010 or from 9.671 million tons in 2010 to 11.667 million tons in 2011.
Imported semi-finished products increased by 69 percent in May compared with the same month last year. For the year-to-date period, semi-finished imports increased from 2.046 million tons in 2010 to 2.893 million tons in 2011, a 41.4 percent increase based on preliminary reporting.