According to preliminary data issued by the U.S. Department of Commerce (DOC), total steel imports dropped 12 percent on the month, from 3.8 million metric tons in August 2006 to 3.35 million metric tons in September 2006. Among the products showing the sharpest drop in imports was hot-rolled steel, a product essential to many metalforming companies, which fell 22 percent from August to 352,019 metric tons in September. Cold-rolled imports also fell sharply, dropping 19 percent from August to 261,584 metric tons in September 2006.
“The latest DOC report confirms an anticipated downturn in imports of the products that U.S. metalforming companies rely on to serve their industrial customers,” said William E. Gaskin, president of the Precision Metalforming Association (www.pma.org). “Consistently high demand for steel products in today’s global marketplace means two things to our members: U.S. prices will stay at or around near record levels for the foreseeable future, and access to the supplies that our companies rely on at globally competitive prices will continue to be a challenge.