Imports declined in October compared to September by 3.2 percent based on preliminary reporting by the government. ‘Import arrivals continue to be weak, reflecting uncertain market conditions in the US. Due to hesitant buyers, prices were declining at the time these semifnished products were ordered resulting in a 24 percent decline in imports of semifinished steel by domestic mills in October. Imports of finished steel increased marginally,’ said David Phelps, president, AIIS.
For the year to date period, steel imports increased by 19.3 percent. ‘The data for the year reflect the improved ’ but not strong—market conditions in 2011 compared to 2010. While the steel market is currently in a period of uncertainty, declining inventories, stable (although not robust) demand for flat and pipe and tube products, expectations are that the market will strengthen in early 2012. This has resulted in market prices strengthening in recent weeks. A large number of economists believe that the general economy will continue its slow but steady improvement in 2012 and as the domestic steel industry benefits as prices increase and optimism for 2012 grows, we expect that the market for imports will follow as well ’ a rising tide lifting all boats,’ concluded Phelps.
Total Steel imports in October 2011 were 2.191 million tons compared to 2.263 million tons in September 2011, a 3.2 percent decrease, and a 16 percent increase compared to October 2010. According to year-to-date figures, imports increased 19.3 percent compared to 2010 or from 20.271 million tons in 2010 to 24.182 million tons in 2011. The data show that imported semifinished products increased by 44.8 percent in October 2011 compared to October 2010. For the year-to-date period, semifinished imports increased from 4.416 million tons in 2010 to 5.719 million tons in 2011, a 29.5% increase based on preliminary reporting.