Steel imports by the USA declined in August by 10.9% compared to July based on preliminary reporting by the government.

David Phelps, president, AIIS commented “Steel imports continue to decline in the face of the headwinds of a softening manufacturing sector and US economy. The short up-cycle experienced early in the summer evaporated quickly and import arrivals from both NAFTA and non- NAFTA countries declined 10.4% and 12.2% respectively from July. This suggests that market conditions in 2-3 months ago when non-NAFTA imports were ordered were similar to conditions facing our NAFTA suppliers for imports that arrived in August – NAFTA business is more coincident with domestic market conditions. The NAFTA decline in August suggests that imports will likely remain at these depressed levels in the near term at least – a result that is consistent with the AIIS monthly importer survey.”

For the year-to-date 2012 compared to 2011, steel imports increased by 16%. “While the totals for 2012 appear on track to register a solid increase for 2012 over 2011 consistent with the increase in the overall steel market, conditions as we enter the final quarter of the year do not provide much reason for optimism. The missing element for a return to health for the steel market remains the non-residential construction, which has not recovered from the Great Recession as yet,” concluded Phelps.

Total Steel imports in August 2012 were 2.474Mstons compared to 2.777Mstons in July 2012, a 10.9%% decrease, and a 0.5% increase compared to August 2011. For the year- to-date period, total imports increased from 19.727Mstons in the first eight months of 2011 to 22.883Mstons in the same 2012 period, a 16% increase. The data show that imported semifinished products decreased by 12.9% in August 2012 compared to August 2011, from 627kstons in 2011 to 546kstons in 2012 and for the year to date period increased from 4.706Mstons to 5.128Mstons.