Steel imports to USA declined in June compared to May by 15.4%, based on preliminary reporting by the government.

“Demand softened in the second quarter and with excess supply and buyers taking more conservative positions on inventory, import ordering from offshore suppliers early in the quarter likewise declined as well. Slabs and other semifinished steel products registered the largest product decline in the month as domestic mills cut back on their purchases of imported material as well,” reported David Phelps, president, AIIS.

For the year to date period, imports were up 18.8% in 2012 compared to 2011, based on the strength of arrivals earlier in the year. “June was the first month of 2012 when arrivals were lower than the corresponding month in 2011. The two products driving the numbers in 2012 were semifinished steel and OCTG, reflecting the strength of these two markets so far in 2012. The weakening steel market during the second quarter were fully reflected in the AIIS’s monthly importer survey, which continues to show softened conditions and weaker order taking at this time for most products. Whether recent price movements by domestic mills portend improved conditions going forward is unknown at this time unfortunately,” concluded Phelps.

Total Steel imports in June 2012 were 2.592M stons compared to 3.064Mst in May 2012, a 15.4%% decrease, and a 4.2% decrease compared to June 2011. For the year-to-date, total imports increased from 14.645Mst in the first six months of 2011 to 17.404Mst in the same 2012 period, an 18.8% increase. The data show that imported semifinished products decreased by 11.7% in June 2012 compared to June 2011, from 560kst in 2011 to 495kst in 2012 and for the year to date period increased from 3.553Mst to 3.906Mst.