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Rebar imports drop in Feb. but slated to rise

Keywords: Tags  Rebar imports, domestics, US Census Bureau, Department of Commerce, license, Samuel Frizell

NEW YORK — Steel reinforcing bar (rebar) imports look set to rebound in March after logging a sharp drop-off in February, according to preliminary data released by the U.S. Census Bureau.

Just 74,584 tonnes of rebar hit U.S. shores in February, according to preliminary data released this week, representing a 30-percent decline compared with January imports and a 33.9-percent slide compared with the 112,908 tonnes imported in February 2012.

"Domestics’ (activity) was a lot lower this year than last year," a Midwest rebar distributor said of the February market.

License data indicate that 90,482 tons of rebar were approved to arrive in the United States in February, but nearly 17,000 tons of Turkish product never reached shore, likely due to a shipment delay, sources said.

But that pullback in imports could turn around this month, with 104,027 tonnes of metal already licensed to arrive through March 26, according to data released this week. If that full volume comes in, imports will mark a new two-month high; if slightly more arrives, it will mark a 12-month record.

And sources said more rebar imports are on track to arrive stateside in the next couple of months.

"We’ve got a boatload of imports hitting the shores in a month and a half, so that’s also a variable in the equation," a domestic rebar fabricator said of April arrivals.

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