Imports decreased again in August compared to July by 6.9 percent, according to preliminary government data. ‘August arrivals reflected market conditions in non- NAFTA countries in late spring when the market was beginning to soften and prices slide, while NAFTA/Canadian arrivals reflected more the beginning of more positive market conditions later in the summer.’ Anticipating increases in steel supply from domestic mills during the summer, and therefore weaker pricing, steel consumers became more conservative in their buying patterns, making imports less attractive than truck-sized lot shipments from domestic mills and service centers. The nearly 20 percent increase in slab imports in August in part reflect the ramping up of production at domestic mills during this time,’ said David Phelps, president, AIIS.

Imports increased by 20.8 percent in the eight-month year-to-date period and were 12 percent higher than in August 2010. ‘Slabs increased the most so far in 2011 and the country with the largest increase is Brazil, a major supplier of slabs to US steel mills.’ The continued slow improvement of the steel market in 2011 over 2010 continues, as reflected in these data, notwithstanding the current concerns abut a double dip recession stemming from the macro economic situation in the US and other important international steel markets,’ concluded Phelps.

Total Steel imports in August 2011 were 2.439 million tons compared to 2.620 million tons in July 2011, a 6.9 percent decrease, and a 12.1 percent increase compared to August 2010. According to year-to-date figures, imports increased 20.8 percent compared to 2010 or from 16.307million tons in 2010 to 19.705’million tons in 2011. The data show that imported semifinished products increased by 28.7 percent in August 2011 compared to August 2010. For the year-to-date period, semifinished imports increased from 3.623 million tons in 2010 to 4.705 million tons in 2011, a 29.9% increase based on preliminary reporting.