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Flat products drive down steel imports

Keywords: Tags  steel, steel imports, Census Bureau, Mark Millett, Steel Dynamics Inc, flat products, long products, pipe and tube

NEW YORK — U.S. steel imports fell in March, according to the latest U.S. Census Bureau data.

Preliminary steel imports totaled 2.25 million tonnes last month, down 1.3 percent from February’s final figure of 2.27 million tonnes and 19.3 percent lower than 2.78 million tonnes in March 2012.

Much of the March decrease was due to a steep decline in imports of flat products, particularly semifinished, which fell 18.6 percent from the previous month to 450,515 tonnes; hot-rolled sheet, which slid 10.7 percent to 164,742 tonnes; cold-rolled sheet, down 22 percent to 83,009 tonnes; plate in coil, down 20.8 percent to 65,642 tonnes; and cut-to-length plate, which tumbled 29.8 percent to 60,584 tonnes.

The flat product decreases were partially offset by increased imports of some long products and pipe and tube. Reinforcing bar imports soared 88 percent to 140,423 tonnes, hot-rolled bar jumped 21 percent to 117,876 tonnes and oil country tubular goods imports climbed 17.9 percent to 215,617 tonnes.

Steel Dynamics Inc. president and chief executive officer Mark D. Millett said during a recent earnings call that while global steel overcapacity persists, parity in domestic and foreign pricing for flat products is preventing "meaningful import pressure" (, April 18). Importers, however, say that a pricing gap is keeping long products imports stable despite a fragile market (, April 22).

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