Imports have remained at modest levels for many months, as the ‘short, inventory-driven cycles’ have given way to a long cycle of lower prices, short lead times at domestic mills.

Many customers have determined that with low prices and short lead times it is not worth the risk to buy imports, which have longer lead times. The most recent AIIS Monthly Importer Survey (on www.aiis.org) reflects the mostly negative views of the marketplace for importers at this time. That said, with the positives listed, there is still reason for cautious optimism for import ordering, but it will take a significant upturn in steel markets from where we are to see import ordering improve. AIIS believe that there is reason for such optimism, but the timing continues to be pushed out later into 2013.