NEW YORK Steel imports arriving at U.S. ports are poised to edge up slightly month over month in November, according to license data from the Commerce Departments Import Administration.
Steel license applications tallied 2.32 million tonnes in November compared with October preliminary figures of 2.3 million tonnes, though Novembers figures were 20.6 percent higher than the 1.92 million tonnes logged in the same month last year.
Much of the month-over-month increase was due to an 11.6-percent jump in shipments of semi-finished material, particularly from Russia. Increases were also seen in hot-rolled bar, which jumped to 140,254 tonnes compared with 100,214 tonnes in October, mostly due to a major increase from China. Plate in coils increased 31.7 percent due to gains from Germany.
Decreases were seen in hot-rolled sheet, which plunged 21.3 percent to 152,200 tonnes as volumes from South Korea fell by more than half month over month, as well as in cut-to-length plate, which fell 41.2 percent to 54,985 tonnes on decreased volumes from Germany and South Korea.
Imports of standard rail products fell to their lowest levels in more than a year due to a steep drop in Japanese volumes.
Steel imports are expected to remain at low levels through year-end due to uncertainty stemming from the coming fiscal cliff and steel pricing declines that lasted from September to mid-October for sheet and September through November for plate and longs, Michelle Applebaum, managing partner at Steel Market Intelligence, said in a research note.