Steel imports to the USA declined again in March by 1.3% compared to February based on preliminary government reporting.

David Phelps, president, AIIS comments; “After months of declines in arrivals in response to weak economic conditions and steel demand, the only good news in the latest report is that the decline is noticeably smaller, and imports from our NAFTA partners showed an increased, hopefully portending better news going forward. The long-awaited spring rebound in construction may be evidenced in the increase in imports of rebar,” he noted.

Steel imports for the first quarter of 2013 compared to 2012 declined 11.7%. Mr Phelps commented “……….the dramatic level of tax and public policy uncertainty clearly affected the US economy and steel market early in 2013 and played a significant role in delaying the normal seasonal rebound. The data for the first quarter show the impact of delayed decision-making by corporations in these lower levels of steel imports. We remain optimistic about the market strengthening as we move through the second quarter”.

Total Steel imports in March 2013 were 2.475M short tons compared to 2.508Mston tons in February, a 1.3% decrease, and a 19.3% decrease compared to March 2012.

For the year- to - date, imports decreased from 8.603Mstons in the first three months of 2012 to 7.600Mstons in the same period 2013, an 11.7% decrease.

The data show that imported semi finished products decreased by 40.1% in March compared to March 2012, from 850kston in 2012 to 509kstons in 2013, based on preliminary reporting. For the year- to – date, imported semi finished products decreased from 2.099Mstons in the first three months of 2012 to 1.604Mstons in the same 2013 period, a 23.6% decrease.

Canada was the largest source of imports in March at 489kston, followed by EU (331kston), Mexico (288kston), Korea (277kston), Brazil (250kston) and Japan (219kston). Imports from much ‘feared’ China amounted to 136kston.