US imports declined 10 percent in June compared to May according to preliminary data released by the Department of Commerce. ‘The decline in imports appears to reflect weakening demand in the US, as market conditions softened during the second quarter and domestic mills substantially reduced their imports of semifinished materials for conversion. Otherwise, imports of finished products remained relatively stable,’ said David Phelps, president, AIIS. Imports for the full year continue to run ahead of 2010, increasing 24.8 percent. ‘Improved market conditions in 2011 compared to 2010 have sustained imports at these levels, but of course, the current weakness of most markets ’ with the exception of oil and gas related products ’ suggests that imports will remain in this modest range in the short to medium term, with obviously one month variations possible,’ concluded Phelps.
Total Steel imports in June 2011 were 2.669 million tons compared to 2.964 million tons in May 2011, a 10 percent decrease, and a 31.2 percent increase compared to June 2010. According to year-to-date figures, imports increased 24.8 percent compared to 2010 or from 11.706 million tons in 2010 to 14.609 million tons in 2011. The data show that imported semifinished products increased by 18.8 percent in June 2011 compared to June 2010. For the year-to-date period, semifinished imports increased from 2.517 million tons in 2010 to 3.553 million tons in 2011, a 41.4% percent increase based on preliminary reporting.