The U.S. imported a total of 1,396,000 net tons of steel in December 2009, up 1% vs. November 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 the December total included 1,119,000 net tons of finished steel, up 11% vs. November final data.
For the full year 2009, total steel imports were 16.2, million net tons, down 49% vs. 2008, while finished steel imports were 14.2 million net tons, down 45% vs. 2008. In a domestic steel market that remains severely depressed, finished steel import market share was an estimated 17% in December and an estimated 22% for the year as a whole — down only slightly from 2008 (24%) and the same as in 2007.
Key finished steel products with increases in December 2009 compared to November include wire rods (+52%), hot rolled bars (+39%), cut-length plates (+32%), oil country goods (+24%) and standard pipe (+21%).
In December, the largest volumes of finished steel imports from offshore were from South Korea (104,000 net tons, down 2%), Japan (103,000 net tons, up 86%), Italy (49,000 net tons, up 13%), China (47,000 net tons, down 23%) and Germany (43,000 net tons, up 35%).
In 2009, finished steel imports from China were 1.5 million net tons, 70% less than in 2008 but more than any other offshore supplier. Following China were offshore finished steel imports from other Asian suppliers South Korea (1.2 million net tons), Japan (926,000 net tons) and India (551,000 net tons).
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. AISI also plays a lead role in the development and application of new steels and steelmaking technology. The Institute comprises 24 member companies, including integrated and electric furnace steelmakers, and 138 associate and affiliate members who are suppliers to or customers of the steel industry.