NEW YORK U.S. imports of stainless steel products picked up in October, largely due to increased shipments of cold-rolled sheet and semifinished products, according to preliminary U.S. Census Bureau data.
Stainless steel imports totaled 79,455 tonnes in October, up 29.8 percent from a final September tally of 61,233 tonnes. However, the monthly total fell 10.6 percent from 88,887 tonnes in October 2012.
The largest month-on-month increases were seen in imports of stainless cold-rolled sheet, which jumped 45.9 percent to 22,466 tonnes from 15,401 tonnes in September; and stainless blooms, billets and slabs, which soared 84.7 percent to 12,264 tonnes from 6,639 tonnes. Imports of pipe and tubing rose 4.3 percent to 8,704 tonnes and cold-finished bar imports were 23.7 percent higher at 7,677 tonnes.
Bucking the general trend were stainless cut-to-length plate, which fell 15.5 percent to 5,301 tonnes, and hot-rolled sheet, down 10.1 percent to 3,035 tonnes.
Stainless steel imports from China and the European Union both increased significantly in October. Deliveries from China totaled 11,051 tonnes, up nearly 70 percent from 6,502 tonnes in September, while shipments from the European Union rose 57.2 percent to 29,863 tonnes from 18,997 tonnes in the same comparison. Closer to home, stainless imports from Mexico increased 35.4 percent to 8,078 tonnes from 5,966 tonnes, and those from Canada rose 8.2 percent to 2,682 tonnes from 2,478 tonnes.
U.S. stainless steel imports totaled 747,999 tonnes in the first nine months of this year, down nearly 15 percent from 879,703 tonnes in the same period last year.