U.S. steel imports in June totaled 2.441 million tons, falling 11 percent from 2.838 million tons (revised) in May 2013 and 13 percent from June 2012, according to government reporting.
The preliminary reporting data showed that imported semi-finished products in June decreased 21.1 percent year-over-year, from 616,000 tons in 2012 to 486,000 tons in 2013.
“The decline in imports from May of semi-finished steel represented half of the total month to month decline in June over the final import data for May,” said David Phelps, president of the American Institute for International Steel, in a written statement. “The June data reflect import ordering — both by the domestic mills and trading companies — during the late first and early second quarter when the steel market was softening.”
Year-to-date, total steel imports were 15.713 million tons, falling 10.9 percent year-over-year from 17.632 million tons. From January to June, imported semi-finished products decreased 16.5 percent from 4.027 million tons in 2012 to 3.363 million tons in 2013.
“Imports continue to be negatively affected by weak demand in most products and market sectors, reflecting the overall weakness of the economy and steel intensive sectors, as well as the reticence of many consumers to add to inventory levels given overall concerns about the direction of the economy – with the notable exception of auto-related shipments of steel, which of course are dominated by the domestic mills,” Phelps said.
“Recent announced price increases provide some optimism, but it is unclear at this point whether the improvement in conditions is due primarily to consumers and distributors restocking, which of course would suggest that the improvement would be short-lived,” he concluded.