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AIIS Steel Import Report for April 2016

Written by Sandy Williams

The American Institute for International Steel (AIIS) publishes a monthly report on U.S. steel imports. Below is the June report covering the month of April.

Falls Church, VA. June 3, 2016. Steel imports decreased by 5.6 percent from March to April, dropping to 2.46 million net tons, 30 percent less than a year earlier.

Imports from Turkey accounted for nearly the entire decline, falling by 55.7 percent to 122,000 net tons, just over half the total in April 2015. Imports from Japan fell by nearly a quarter to 143,000 net tons, 37 percent less than in the previous April. Imports from Russia were down almost 40 percent to 80,000 net tons, while imports from Mexico decreased 15.7 percent to 208,000 net tons. Russia’s total was less than half the April 2015 amount, while Mexico’s was 5.2 percent more. South Korea and Brazil increased their steel sales to the United States in April, the former by 20 percent to 336.000 net tons and the latter by 18.6 percent to 406,000 net tons. Compared to a year earlier, these were decreases of 34.2 percent and 5.2 percent, respectively.

Through the first four months of the year, steel imports were down 34.4 percent compared to the start of 2015 at 9.98 million net tons. Year-to-date imports from South Korea, the European Union, Brazil and Japan – which, combined, account for about 58 percent of all steel shipments to the United States – all decreased by at least 31 percent. Among the United States’ biggest trading partners, Canada has recorded the smallest drop-off this year, with imports from north of the border down 5.1 percent to 1.87 million net tons.

Semifinished imports dropped 19 percent from April 2015 to 442,000 net tons. Year-to-date, semifinished imports totaled 1.51 million net tons, a nearly 42 percent decrease from the same time last year.

Over the course of 18 months, starting in October 2014, monthly steel imports plummeted 44 percent. During that time, quarterly economic growth has been, with one exception, unimpressive – 2.1 percent to close out 2014, followed by 0.6 percent, an aberrant 3.9 percent, 2 percent, 1.4 percent and, most recently, in the first quarter of 2016, 0.8 percent. As AIIS has noted before, steel imports are an important indicator of economic health. Lawmakers and regulators should remember this as the economy continues to stumble. Decreasing the availability of affordable, quality international steel will only make it harder for businesses to expand and consumer spending to grow.

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