Down from January 07

Imports jumped in January by 33% over December, but remained lower by 10% compared to January 2007. ‘January import arrivals are often affected by non-market factors such as December 31 inventory taxes, which in many jurisdictions such as Houston, Texas, depress arrivals in December,’ said Phelps, President AIIS. ‘Positive signs for the steel market in the January data include the surge from Canada, which notwithstanding the high value of its currency, increased its imports in response to rising prices and low inventories.’ ‘While the AIIS Monthly Import Survey does not show a strong increase in import ordering so far in response to market conditions, those imports being ordered in most product lines are experiencing strong increases in prices. We believe that market conditions, especially with regard to rising price levels, will translate into slowly improving import orders and then arrivals in the months to come,’ concluded Phelps.

Total Steel imports in January 2008 were 2.657 million tons compared to 2.004 million tons in December 2007, a 32.6% increase, but a 9.9% decrease compared to January 2007. According to year-to-date figures, imports decreased 9.9% compared to 2007 or from 2.949 million tons in 2007 to 2.657 million tons in 2008. The data show that imported semifinished products decreased by 15.2% in January 2008 as compared to January 2007.