The U.S. imported a total of 2,451,000 net tons of steel in May 2008, an 18% decrease vs. April final data, according to the latest report from the American Iron and Steel Institute (AISI).
The report, which is based on preliminary Census Bureau data, shows that total May imports included 1,998,000 net tons of finished steel, down 10% vs. April final data.
For the first five months of 2008, total and finished steel imports are down 11 and 14%, respectively vs. the same period in 2007. However, the monthly average for finished steel imports in the most recent 3-month period (March to May 2008) is up 10% vs. the monthly average in the previous 3 months (December 2007 to February 2008). On an annualized basis, total and finished steel imports this year are down 5 and 6%, respectively, vs. 2007, with total annualized imports of steel projected to reach 31.6 million net tons in 2008.
Key products with large increases in May compared to the month before include:
· Sheet & Strip Galvanized Hot Dipped, +89%
· Oil Country Goods, +21%
· Heavy Structural Shapes, +15%
· Cold Rolled Sheets, +10%
Products showing significant increases for the first five months of 2008 vs. the same period in 2007 included Oil Country Goods (+17%) and Line Pipe (+16%).
For May, the largest volume of finished steel imports from offshore was from China (287,000 net tons, up 59% from April), which recorded its highest monthly volume of the year. Much of this tonnage was in high-value steel products still receiving government export tax rebates (e.g., OCTG, line pipe and hot-dipped galvanized sheet). Other major offshore suppliers in May included South Korea (199,000 net tons, down 6% from April), Japan (118,000 net tons, down 30%), India (96,000 net tons, up 16%) and Germany (81,000 net tons, down 44%).
AISI serves as the voice of the North American steel industry in the public policy arena and advances the case for steel in the marketplace as the preferred material of choice; it also plays a lead role in the development and application of new steels and steelmaking technology. AISI comprises 30 member companies, including integrated and electric furnace steelmakers, and 138 associate and affiliate members who are suppliers to or customers of the steel industry.