Total U.S. steel exports fell 31.1 percent for the year in 2009, sliding to 9.3 million tons. The global economic downturn took a heavy toll on shippers and the shipping industry in 2009, but December’s figures indicate the beginnings of recovery.
U.S. steel exports rose 29.8 percent in December 2009 as compared to December 2008 but declined slightly, 0.7 percent, from November to December, according to the American Institute for International Steel.
Exports to Canada and Mexico, the United States’ largest trading partners, were up in December 2009 compared to December 2008 by 31.8 percent and 22.4 percent, respectively. Exports to Mexico also increased in December from November, to 212,236 tons from 188,479. However U.S. exports to Canada were off 8.4 percent for the same period, to 439,001 tons from 479,182.
Exports to Canada totaled 4.7 million tons for the year, compared to 6.9 million tons in 2008. Exports to Mexico were 2 million tons, compared to 2.9 million.
Some smaller markets saw increases from 2008 to 2009. U.S. steel exports to Africa were up 23.8 percent, to 202,523 tons from 163,594 in 2008. Exports to Turkey increased 43 percent, to 37,825 tons, and exports to the Dominican Republic increased 179 percent, to 134,753 tons.
“While the tonnages for 2009 were down from the heady days of 2008 due to the recession that affected many of our trading partners, exports to many markets/countries remained strong through the year… It is not yet the absolute quantity exported to this region that is especially noteworthy, but the rate at which this volume is being expanded by U.S. steelmakers and exporters,” said AIIS President David Phelps.
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