Steel imports to the USA increased in August compared to July by 13.8% according to preliminary government reporting.

“Improved market conditions during the summer are reflected in these data, as close-by NAFTA producers led the increase in imports in response to increased demand and improved pricing. Semi-finished imports, imported for further processing by domestic mills, posted a strong improvement during the month too, increasing by nearly 30%,” said David Phelps, president, of The American Institute for International Steel (AIIS).

For the year-to-date, steel imports decreased by 8.5% compared to the like period in 2012.

A slightly weaker demand and inventory depletion depressing both domestic and import supply during most of 2013, the improvement during the summer appeared to have been mostly related to inventory restoration, but recent developments suggest that there appears to be some underlying improvement in demand – especially for flat rolled products, commented Phelps.

Total Steel imports in August 2013 were 2.870M stons compared to 2.521M stons in July 2013, a 13.8% increase, and a 7.3% increase compared to August 2012.

For the year- to - date, imports decreased from 23.083M stons in the eight months of 2012 to 21.122M stons in the same 2013 period, an 8.5% decrease. The data show that imported semi-finished products increased by 7.2% in August 2013 compared to August 2012, from 626k stons in 2012 to 671k stons in 2013, based on preliminary reporting. For the year- to - date period, imported semi-finished products decreased from 5.208M stons in the first eight months of 2012 to 4.553M stons in the same 2013 period, a 12.6% decrease.

In August, Canada was the largest supplier at 480k ston followed by S Korea (355k ston), Mexico (335k ston) and the EU (301k ston). Imports from China ranked 8th at 110k ston, down –37.7% on July.

For the year to August, all exporting countries except China saw a decrease in sales to USA. Canada remained the largest export country at 3.171M ston, followed by EU (3.074M ston), Brazil (2.687M ston), S Korea (2.483M ston) and Mexico (2.215M ston).

Despite increasing its exports to USA by 8.5%, China ranked 7th as an exporter to USA at 1.189M ston.