Imports increased by .5% in October over final data from September based on preliminary reporting for October.’ ‘The small increase in October reflects orders taken in June-July for non-NAFTA countries when the market was much stronger and steel prices in many markets at their peak and the US Dollar had begun to strengthen,’ said David Phelps, president, AIIS.

The two largest product categories reflect the market in that time frame.’ Semi-finished steel imports for use by domestic mills then trying to keep up with strong demand in many markets were at strong levels and OCTG, which was at the time in short supply in the US.’ ‘We expect that arrivals for the rest of the year will begin to weaken somewhat as the impact of the international economic slow-down will begin to show up from slower order taking by importers.’ With order taking in the middle of the fourth quarter at very low levels we expect arrivals to be substantially lower as we start 2009,’ concluded Phelps.

Total Steel imports in October 2008 were 2.96 million tons compared to 2.95 million tons in September 2008, a 0.5% increase, and a 6.8% increase compared to October 2007. According to year-to-date figures, imports decreased 5.6% compared to 2007 or from 28.9 million tons in 2007 to 27.3 million tons in 2008. The data show that imported semi-finished products decreased by 26.0% in October 2008 as compared to October 2007. For the year-to-date period, semi-finished imports decreased from 5.90 million tons in 2007 to 5.56 million tons in 2008, a 5.8% decrease, based on preliminary reporting.