Philadelphia firms drive rise in US slab imports in December

US steel slab imports inched up 2.5% month-on-month in December 2012, sending the full-year intake to the highest level seen in five years.

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Imports of the product totaled 586,839 tonnes in December, according to data compiled by Steel First sister publication AMM from the US Census Bureau’s Foreign Trade Division.

That figure also exceeded by 39.4% the 421,032 tonnes imported in December 2011.

Month-on-month gains were seen in the Philadelphia district, which saw imports rise 91.4% to 214,038 tonnes in December from 111,830 tonnes in November; the district saw zero tonnes in December 2011.

The district includes the Pennsylvania facilities of Portage, Indiana based NLMK USA; Chicago-based Evraz; North America’s Claymont, Delaware, operations; and Chicago-based ArcelorMittal USA’s Coatesville, Pennsylvania, plant.

Slab imports into the Los Angeles district, which includes Fontana, California based California Steel Industries, saw imports rise 61.4% month-on-month to 115,579 tonnes in December.

Imports to Mobile, Alabama, usually the largest US slab destination, saw imports fall 14.2% to 189,765 tonnes in December.

The total was also 14.9% below the level logged in December 2011. The district includes Essen, Germany-based ThyssenKrupp AG’s Calvert, Alabama, facility.

Imports to the Columbia-Snake district, which includes Evraz’s Portland, Oregon based mill, were nearly halved, reaching 55,843 tonnes in December.

Slab imports for 2012 totaled 6,515,722 tonnes, a five-year high and a 14.5% increase from 2011. Imports last topped this level in 2006, when they reached 7,525,502 tonnes.

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