Steel exports from USA declined 3.8% in February 2013 compared to January according to government data.

“Weakness in NAFTA markets showed up powerfully in the February data, with the decline to our NAFTA partners more than the total decline for the month. Increases in exports to the much smaller markets in the rest of the Western Hemisphere, along with a slight improvement in exports to Europe and Africa offset some of the large decline experienced in exports to North American markets,” said David Phelps, president, AIIS.

For the year-to-date data through February, steel exports have declined 14.5% “The stalled economic recovery in North America, along with the serious problems facing our European trading partners have put a damper on steel exports so far this year. While we expect the US market to improve later and Asia to regain momentum, there is little expectation at this point that European markets will become healthy in 2013, limiting exports to that small export market for US-made steel. We would expect that given the lag in orders to actual export shipments, it will take some more months before the data show improvements however. We are hopeful that exports will improve as we move into the summer months,” concluded Phelps.

Total Steel exports in February 2013 were 1.036M short tons compared to 1.077Mston in January 2013, a 3.8% decrease, and a 14.4% decrease to 2.114Mston compared to February 2012.