NEW YORK U.S. steel imports edged up 4.6 percent in January from the previous month on the back of increased coated and energy goods, U.S. Census Bureau data show.
Preliminary steel imports totaled 2.34 million tonnes last month, up from Decembers final figure of nearly 2.24 million tonnes but down 8.4 percent from a year earlier.
Major increases in carbon and alloy products included oil country tubular goods, which rebounded 56.9 percent to 259,206 tonnes after plunging 32.9 percent in December, while hot-dipped galvanized sheet jumped 47 percent to an eight-month high of 178,349 tonnes.
Decreases were registered for semifinished material, which plunged 29.9 percent in January to 420,955 tonnes, while imports of plate in coil fell 47.6 percent to 63,038 tonnes.
"Based on import licenses through the first 26 days of February, we believe that February imports are likely to decline modestly from January," Michelle Applebaum, managing partner of Chicago-based Steel Market Intelligence, said in a research note. "Given rising global steel pricing trends and flat-to-down domestic long and flat-product prices in recent months, we expect imports to moderate through the next three months."