NEW YORK Increased line
pipe and heavy structural product shipments helped lift steel
exports in March, data from the Commerce Departments
Import Administration show.
Exports for the month totaled
997,820 tonnes, up 6.1 percent month on month but down 8.6
percent from the 1.09 million tonnes shipped abroad in the same
month last year.
"The stronger showing for steel
exports in March was due primarily to increased shipments to
our Nafta (North American Free Trade Agreement) partners, but
notably, exports increased to all other smaller export markets
as well, with the exception of the small markets in Africa,"
David Phelps, president of the Washington-based American
Institute for International Steel, said in a statement. "While
the trend might hold for our Nafta trading partners going
forward, the small increase in exports to the (European Union)
is open to question given economic challenges faced there. The
increase in non-Nafta Western Hemisphere exports is
The most notable export gains
were in heavy structural shapes, up 16.7 percent month on month
to 92,771 tonnes in March, and line pipe, up 92 percent to
Meanwhile, significant drops
were seen in exports of semifinished material, down 55.2
percent to 23,887 tonnes.
"While demand conditions in some
critical steel markets remain healthy in the Nafta region,
providing some reason for optimism going forward, it is
difficult to predict the direction of other international
markets that have become increasingly important export
destinations for U.S.-made steel," Phelps added.