U.S. steel exports in March totaled 1.1 million tons, rising 6.1 percent from 1.0 million tons from February, but down 8.6 percent from March 2012, according to government reporting.
“The stronger showing for steel exports in March was due primarily to increased shipments to our NAFTA partners, but, notably, exports increased to all other smaller export markets, as well, with the exception of the small markets in Africa,” said David Phelps, president of the American Institute for International Steel, in a written statement. “While the trend might hold for our NAFTA trading partners going forward, the small increase in exports to the (European Union) is open to question, given economic challenges faced there. The increase in non-NAFTA Western Hemisphere exports is encouraging.”
In the first quarter, exports declined 12.6 percent from 3.7 million tons in 2012 to 3.2 million tons in 2013.
“The first quarter decline reflects the slower start to the year in NAFTA and other international markets,” Phelps continued. “While demand conditions in some critical steel markets remain healthy in the NAFTA region, providing some reason for optimism going forward, it is difficult to predict the direction of other international markets that have become increasingly important export destinations for U.S.-made steel.”