U.S. imports of steel saw their worst year since 1991 in 2009, falling 49.3 percent from the year before, said the American Institute for International Steel.
Imports inched up 1.3 percent in December from November based on preliminary government reporting, AIIS said, hinting at the possibility of recovery.
“Imports declined almost 50 percent in 2009, while domestic shipments (through November) were down 38 percent, reflecting weak demand in almost every steel market segment and substantial reductions in inventory throughout the supply chain,” said David Phelps, president of AIIS. “Early in 2010, however, there are some signs that demand is improving. But whether the improvement is merely a restocking of inventories or reflects a systemic improvement in demand is unknown at this time.”
“The one positive element in the import data for December is the increase in imports from NAFTA countries, which react more quickly to demand conditions in the U.S. market than offshore suppliers,” Phelps said.
Total steel imports in December 2009 were 1.4 million tons compared to 1.3 million tons in November 2009, a 1.3 percent increase, and a 32.5 percent decrease compared to December 2008.
Year to date, imports decreased 49.3 percent compared to 2008 or from 32 million tons in 2008 to 16.2 million tons in 2009.
Contact Thomas L. Gallagher at firstname.lastname@example.org.