NEW YORK Steel arrivals at U.S. ports fell to a more
than one-year low in February amid major declines in pipe and
tube, as well as hot-rolled sheet and hot-dipped galvanized
sheet and strip.
Imports totaled 2.21 million tonnes in February, preliminary
U.S. Census Bureau data released March 26 show, down 6.7
percent from Januarys final 2.37 million tonnes and 10.3
percent below 2.47 million tonnes in February 2012. It is
the lowest import total seen since December 2011, when 1.87
million tonnes arrived at U.S. ports.
Much of the decrease in the carbon and alloy sector is due to a
34.4-percent month-on-month plunge in imports of oil country
tubular goods to 176,300 tonnes in February, particularly from
Germany, South Korea and Vietnam.
In the same comparison, hot-rolled sheet imports fell 19.1
percent to 165,361 tonnes, largely due to fall in product from
Japan and the Netherlands; and hot-dipped galvanized sheet and
strip fell 20.8 percent to 141,252 tonnes amid a drop in Indian
Imports of stainless products also fell to 84,100 tonnes, down
20.6 percent vs. January.
Meanwhile, increases were seen in semifinished material, which
rose 31.5 percent month on month in February from all major
Plate products also posted monthly gains, with plate in coils
jumping 31.5 percent to 82,884 tonnes and cut-to-length plate
up 68.9 percent to 75,527 tonnes.
Looking forward, importers say business has been particularly
difficult due to softening U.S. sheet prices, although import
offers for plate arriving into the U.S. Gulf Coast could look
attractive if domestic prices hold steady.