NEW YORK Steel arriving
at U.S. ports through December was poised to hit an
11-month low, due to major volume declines across most
finished steel products.
Import license applications in
December tallied 2.1 million tonnes, an 11.3-percent decrease
from November preliminary import figures, according to data
from the Commerce Departments Import Administration.
Those figures, however, were up from December 2011 imports of
1.9 million tonnes.
Last month, trading sources told
AMM that while the first half of 2012 looked strong
for imports, a midyear lull triggered by falling domestic
prices and the U.S. elections caused a considerable slide in
amm.com, Dec. 27). That sluggishness continued
through December, the data show.
In the carbon and alloy steel
sector, major declines were seen in oil country tubular goods
(OCTG) imports, which dropped 36.5 percent to 132,778 tonnes in
December due to the lowest-volume arrivals from South Korea in
more than a year. Imports of hot-dipped galvanized sheet and
strip fell 35.6 percent to 110,368 tonnes, led by a major
plunge in material from India.
While cold-rolled sheet imports
saw a bounce the previous month, that market again logged
declines in December. A slide in imports from China, Canada,
South Korea and Japan, among others, led to a 17.9-percent
overall decline in cold-rolled steel to 109,805 tonnes.
Only a few steel products saw a
rise in imported volumes last month. Gains were seen in
semifinished material imports, which rose 8.7 percent to
637,982 tonnes due to increases from Russia and Mexico, while
hot-rolled sheet saw a 16.4-percent increase due to imports
from Australia hitting a 13-month high.