NEW YORK U.S. steel mill product exports fell to a more than one-year low in February, led by several flat products.
The harsh winter was a major contributor to the decrease, according to Richard Chriss, executive director of the American Institute for International Steel.
"A weaker result in February over January was particularly evident with respect to (North American Free Trade Agreement) exports, which represent about three-quarters of total U.S. steel exports," he said. "One likely explanation is that by most accounts, during the mid-January through February time period, there was less steel moving in North America during one of the harshest winters the Midwest has seen in many years."
Overall exports fell 6.1 percent month on month and 12.8 percent year on year, according to data from the U.S. Commerce Departments Enforcement and Compliance division. Major decreases were seen in hot-dipped galvanized sheet and strip (down 13.9 percent), hot-rolled sheet (down 25.1 percent) and cut-to-length plate (down 8.4 percent). However, exports of oil country tubular goods jumped 19.7 percent month on month.
Exports in the coming months, particularly to the Nafta region, will "improve significantly now that the weather will likely not be such an adverse factor in the spring," Chriss added.