The American Iron and Steel Institute (AISI) reported that the U.S. imported a total of 1,505,000 net tons (NT) of steel in March 2009, including 1,437,000 NT of finished steel (down 5% and 3%, respectively, vs. February final data). Total and finished steel imports on an annualized basis are down 32% and 22%, respectively, vs. 2008. Annualized totalimports of steel in 2009 would be 21.8 million MT. Finished steel import market share is an estimated 29% in March, and an estimated 31% for Q1 2009.
AISI said that key products with increases in March 2009 compared to February include Reinforcing Bars (up 155%), Mechanical Tubing (up 46%), Hot Dipped Galvanized Sheet & Strip (up 28%), Line Pipe (up 24%), and Standard Pipe (up 24%). For Q1 2009 vs. same period last year, OCTG imports (led by China) increased 79%.
In March, the largest volume of finished imports from offshore was from China (196,000 NT, down 28% from February). The March tonnage from China was 14% of all finished imports and, based on the March data,finished steel imports from China in 2009 would annualize at 3.6 million NT. Other major offshore suppliers in March were Korea (135,000 NT, down 11% from March), Japan (107,000, up 7%), and India (83,000 NT, up 11%). For Q1 2009 vs. same period last year, finished imports increased significantly for a number of countries -- including China (up by 78%).
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