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Steel Imports Fall 16.5% in February

Written by Sandy Williams

The American Institute for International Steel reports monthly on steel import levels. We thought our readers might enjoy looking at the data from the AIIS point of view. Here is the press release for imports in February:

Falls Church, VA. March 24, 2016. Steel imports fell 16.5 percent in February, as the United States sharply scaled back its purchases from Brazil and other nations.

Imports totaled 2.21 million net tons in February, which was 38.3 percent less than in February 2015. Imports from Brazil fell 70.6 percent from January to 116,000 net tons, down almost three-fourths from a year earlier, while imports from Japan decreased by nearly half from the previous month and by more than half from the previous February to 115,000 net tons. Imports from Canada were down 6.7 percent at 456,000 net tons, though this was 1.2 percent higher than in February 2015. Imports from the European Union dipped 12.5 percent to 298,000 net tons, down 45.3 percent from the same time last year, and imports from Mexico fell 13.6 percent to 208,000 net tons, down 16 percent from the previous February. South Korea, however, shipped 54.4 percent more steel to the United States than it did in January, but those 374,000 net tons were 22.2 percent less than a year earlier.

Through the first two months of the year, steel imports were down almost 40 percent from January-February 2015 at 4.86 million net tons. Year-to-date imports from Canada were nearly unchanged at 945,000 net tons. Imports from the European Union were down by almost half at 638,000 net tons, and imports from South Korea were down by more than half at 616,000 net tons. Imports from Brazil fell 57 percent to 510,000 net tons.

Semifinished imports totaled 133,000 net tons in February, an 82.3 percent decrease from a year earlier. Year to date, semifinished imports were down 68.6 percent at 493,000 net tons.

While imports increased 10 percent from December to January, the February decline has dampened hopes that 2016 would start with increasing steel consumption and, hence, economic activity. This is similar to 2015, when a big increase in steel imports in January was followed by an even bigger decrease the following month. When consistent steel import growth returns, consistent overall economic growth will almost certainly follow.

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