U.S. steel imports declined 4.2 percent in June, the first year-over-year decline in 2012, as demand softened and buyers slowed their inventory building.
Steel imports declined to 2.592 million tons in June, a drop of 15.4 percent from May, preliminary government data show. Imports through the first half of the year were up 18.8 percent, based on the strength of imports earlier in the year.
“Demand softened in the second quarter and with excess supply and buyers taking more conservative positions on inventory, import ordering from offshore suppliers early in the quarter likewise declined as well,” said David Phelps, president of the American Institute for International Steel. “Slabs and other semifinished steel products registered the largest product decline in the month as domestic mills cut back on their purchases of imported material as well.”
Phelps said AIIS’s monthly importer survey continues to show softer markets and weaker orders for most products. “Whether recent price movements by domestic mills portend improved conditions going forward is unknown at this time unfortunately,” he said.