NEW YORK U.S. steel slab imports inched up 2.5 percent month on month in December, sending the full-year intake to the highest level seen in five years.
Imports of the product totaled 586,839 tonnes in December, according to data compiled by AMM from the U.S. Census Bureaus Foreign Trade Division. That figure also exceeded by 39.4 percent the 421,032 tonnes imported in December 2011.
Month-on-month gains were seen in the Philadelphia district, which saw imports rise 91.4 percent to 214,038 tonnes in December from 111,830 tonnes in November; the district saw zero tonnes in December 2011. The district includes the Pennsylvania facilities of Portage, Ind.-based NLMK USA; Chicago-based Evraz Inc. North Americas Claymont, Del., operations; and Chicago-based ArcelorMittal USA Inc.s Coatesville, Pa., plant.
Slab imports into the Los Angeles district, which includes Fontana, Calif.-based California Steel Industries Inc., saw imports rise 61.4 percent month on month to 115,579 tonnes in December.
But imports to Mobile, Ala., usually the largest U.S. slab destination, saw imports fall 14.2 percent to 189,765 tonnes in December. The total was also 14.9 percent below the level logged in December 2011. The district includes Essen, Germany-based ThyssenKrupp AGs Calvert, Ala., facility.
Imports to the Columbia-Snake district, which includes Evrazs Portland, Ore.-based mill, were nearly halved, reaching 55,843 tonnes in December.
Slab imports for 2012 totaled 6,515,722 tonnes, a five-year high and a 14.5 percent increase from 2011. Imports last topped this level in 2006, when they reached 7,525,502 tonnes.