U.S. steel mill product imports grew 2.9 percent in April over March, and were up 21.9 percent in the first four months of the year over the same period a year ago, according to the government’s preliminary import data.
Total steel imports in April were 2.553 million tons compared to 2.465 million tons in March, potentially a signal of greater demand in a manufacturing sector that had been reporting slower factory activity.
“These import arrivals from non-NAFTA countries reflect slowly improving market conditions at the beginning of the year,” said David Phelps, president of AIIS.
By the Numbers: U.S. Trade.
For the year to date through April, imports increased from 7.377 million tons in 2010 to 8.960 million tons in 2011.
“We are gratified to see continued strength in the US steel market, as reflected by improving imports and domestic shipments through the four month data we have,” Phelps said. “While a current soft patch has reduced current order taking for imports and therefore expectations for import arrivals a few months out, actual consumption appears not to be much affected and we are optimistic that market steel conditions will re-strengthen in coming months, to the benefit of both domestic and import suppliers to the customer base.”
The data shows that imported semi-finished products increased by 54.6 percent in April 2011 compared to March 2010. For the year-to-date period, semi-finished imports increased from 1,541 million tons in 2010 to 2,050 million tons in 2011, a 33 percent year-over-year increase based on preliminary reporting.