U.S. steel exports reached 1.036 million tons in February, dropping 3.8 percent from 1.077 million tons in the previous month and 14.4 percent year-over-year, according to government data, the American Institute for International Steel reports.
“Weakness in NAFTA markets showed up powerfully in the February data, with the decline to our NAFTA partners more than the total decline for the month,” said David Phelps, AIIS president, in a written statement. “Increases in exports to the much smaller markets in the rest of the Western Hemisphere, along with a slight improvement in exports to Europe and Africa offset some of the large decline experienced in exports to North American markets.”
For the year to date, steel exports decreased by 14.5 percent from 2.473 million tons in 2012 to 2.114 million tons in 2013.
“While we expect the U.S. market to improve later and Asia to regain momentum, there is little expectation at this point that European markets will become healthy in 2013, limiting exports to that small export market for U.S.-made steel,” Phelps said.