U.S. steel imports in September totaled 2.761 million tons, declining 4.1 percent from August, but increasing 6.1 percent from September 2012, according to government reporting.
The preliminary reporting data showed that imports of semi-finished products in September rose 7.7 percent year-over-year, from 598,000 tons in 2012 to 644,000 tons in 2013.
“Steel imports declined in September, reflecting the generally sluggish economy as coincident imports from our [North American Free Trade Agreement] partners led the decline in imports from August,” said David Phelps, president of the American Institute for International Steel, in a written statement.
U.S. industrial manufacturing rose less than forecast in September, up only 0.1 percent, following a 0.5 percent boost in August.
Year-to-date, total steel imports have decreased 7.0 percent from 25.686 million tons in 2012 to 23.892 million tons in 2013. From January to September, imports of semi-finished products dropped 10.5 percent year-over-year to 5.197 million tons.
“The U.S. economy remains in a weakened condition at the end of the third quarter as reflected in the lower level of steel imports in 2013,” Phelps said. “Until non-residential construction demand improves significantly, there appears little reason to conclude that the steel market will return to healthy levels of domestic shipments and imports.”