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US March imports reach recent record at 2.78m t - 15 May 2012

The final volume of steel delivered into the US in March was 2.78m tonnes, up 12.7% from February's 2.47m t and the highest monthly level in at least the past year. The next highest month was May 2011, when 2.69m t were shipped to the US, according to US Department of Commerce data.

The reason for the upswing appears to be largely due to imports of semifinished steel, which Platts Steel Business Briefing understands to be mostly slabs. Semis imports came in at 756,864 t in the final March count, up 190,339 t or 34% from February's 566,525 t. The March number reflects the largest month for semis imports since May 2011, when 847,097 t were shipped.

Line pipe imports were another contributor to the month-on-month increase. They were up 107,860 t in March to 252,343 t - a 75% jump and another 12-month high.

Other products reaching at least 12-month import highs in March were OCTG, cut plate, hotrolled bar and standard pipe. M-o-m imports of OCTG rose 22% to 311,616 t; cut plate, 46% to 120,610 t; hotrolled bar, 10% to 116,212 t; and standard pipe, 27% to 82,637 t (see table).

Stainless steel imports also rose 22% from 77,039 t in February to 93,892 t in March.

M-o-m decreases occurred in imports of hotrolled sheet, -15% to 170,823 t; hot-dipped galvanized sheet and strip, -18% to 125,436 t; rebar, -13% to 98,276 t; coiled plate, -39% to 72,480 t; and wire rod, -17% to 89,460 t.

US imports

Based on US Census data, in tonnes

 

March

February

% change

Semifinished

756,864

566,525

+33.6

OCTG

311,616

256,488

+21.5

Line pipe

252,343

144,483

+74.7

Hotrolled sheet

170,823

200,758

-14.9

HDG sheet and strip

125,436

153,271

-18.2

Rebar

98,276

112,908

-13

Hotrolled bar

116,212

106,011

-9.6

Coldrolled sheet

100,166

88,391

+13.3

Cut plate

120,610

82,808

+45.7

Coiled plate

72,480

118,947

-39

Wire rod

89,460

108,340

-17.4

Standard pipe

82,637

64,929

+27.3

 

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