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Steel slab imports lose ground in December

Keywords: Tags  steel slab, slab imports, California Steel Industries, ArcelorMittal USA, ThyssenKrupp, Nippon Steel & Sumitomo Metal, Catherine Ngai

NEW YORK — U.S. steel slab imports fell in December from the previous month, with a drop in shipments to Houston-Galveston, Texas, and the Columbia-Snake customs district only partially offset by higher shipments into Mobile, Ala.

Slab imports totaled 538,345 tonnes in December, down 11.4 percent from 607,630 tonnes in November and 8.3 percent below the 586,839 tonnes imported in December 2012, according to data compiled by AMM from USA Trade Online, part of the U.S. Census Bureau’s Foreign Trade division.

Slab arrivals into the Mobile customs district, which includes Essen, Germany-based ThyssenKrupp AG’s Calvert, Ala., facility, jumped 52.8 percent to 327,948 tonnes in December after tumbling 37.1 percent the previous month. However, several sources said shipments of slab into that district would likely taper off after the impending purchase of the facility by Chicago-based ArcelorMittal USA LLC and Tokyo-based Nippon Steel & Sumitomo Metal Corp. in the first half of the year due to a likely change in how the pair would send the raw material.

Meanwhile, slabs brought into the Columbia-Snake district, which includes Chicago-based Evraz Inc. North America’s Portland, Ore., mill, tumbled 47.7 percent to 35,985 tonnes after falling 38.2 percent the previous month.

Imports into the Houston-Galveston district fell 47.3 percent to 15,430 tonnes, while those into the Los Angeles district—which includes California Steel Industries Inc., Fontana, Calif.—rose 14.1 percent to 148,334 tonnes.

Slab imports for last year as a whole totaled 6.3 million tonnes, down 2.8 percent from 6.5 million tonnes in 2012. This was mainly due to lower shipments into three districts—Columbia-Snake; Buffalo, N.Y.; and Pembina, N.D.—offset somewhat by increased shipments into Mobile and New Orleans.

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