Steel imports increased in January compared to December by 9.4 percent according to preliminary government data.’ ‘Imports from the NAFTA region jumped by 31.3 percent in January over the final data for December, as suppliers in the region responded quickly to improved demand, restocking requirements and increased prices in the US market. The increase in imports from the NAFTA region reflect more than the total increase in imports, as non-NAFTA suppliers registered a small decline in total tonnage during the same period.’ The lag time for order to delivery from offshore producers is generally from 2-3 months and so non-NAFTA imports in January reflect market conditions before the steel market improved,’ said David Phelps, president, AIIS.

Total Steel imports in January 2011 were 2,048 million tons compared to 1,872 million’tons in December 2010, a 9.4%‘increase, and a 23.2% increase compared to January 2010. The data show that imported semifinished products increased from 377 thousand tons in January 2010 to 417 thousand tons in January 2011, a 10.5 % increase.