NEW YORK Steel imports in
October fell to the lowest level in six months on the back of
major declines in semifinished material and plate products.
Steel arriving at U.S. ports
fell 2.4 percent to 2.3 million tonnes from nearly 2.4 million
tonnes in September, according to data released Tuesday by the
U.S. Census Bureau.
Major declines under carbon and
alloy were logged in semifinished material, which fell 20.7
percent to 420,907 tonnes. Cut-to-length plate also slid 12.3
percent to 93,561 tonnes, while plate in coils posted an
11.2-percent fall to 87,847 tonnes.
Meanwhile, gains were seen in
heavy structural shapes, which rose 55.4 percent to 54,025
tonnes in preliminary October data vs. the month prior. That
figure is also 77.1 percent higher than the October 2011 tally
of 30,509 tonnes. Reinforcing bar imports were also up 27
percent in October vs. September, tallying 53,247 tonnes.
Imports of hot-dipped galvanized
moved up 11.7 percent due to large tonnages from India. Imports
of cold-rolled sheet increased 7.2 percent due to large
tonnages from China.
By country, imports from Canada
and Mexico fell by a combined 6.2 percent to 597,961 tonnes.
Imports from China jumped 14.8 percent, imports from South
Korea moved up 15.6 percent and imports from Japan saw a
25.7-percent increase in October.
"We believe the pickup in
imports from Asia is a result of overcapacity from China and
Korea spilling into the region, resulting in more steel shipped
to the still most open U.S. market," Steel Market Intelligence
managing partner Michelle Applebaum said in a research
Steel license applications
through Nov. 27 show imports poised to hit 2.1 million tonnes,
although Applebaum noted that the final figures could be lower
due to pricing pressure.
"Based on current November
import licenses, we expect to see a small drop in actual
November imports, as steel pricing declines that started in
September ... are likely to keep imports at low levels through
year-end," she said.