SPOKANE (Scrap Monster): The latest press release by the American Institute for International Steel (AIIS) indicates that the country’s steel exports remained largely unmoved during the month of December last year. Meantime, the whole year exports by the US registered significant decline in 2016.
According to data, the US steel exports totaled 726,848 net tons in Dec ’16, marginally lower by 0.3% when matched with the prior month. The exports had totaled 729,035 net tons in November 2016. When compared with the previous year, the steel exports were up slightly by 0.2%, AIIS data said.
The largest export destination of steel products from the US was Canada. The exports to the country totaled 332,151 net tons, accounting for nearly 46% of the total steel exports by the US during the month. The exports declined by 9.5% over the previous month and by 4.8% when matched with December 2015. The second largest importer during the month was Mexico. The imports by Mexico totaled 306,835 net tons. The steel exports to Mexico declined by nearly 5% when matched with the previous month and the same month a year before. In third place was the European Union region with 30,676 net tons. The exports surged higher by nearly 75% over the previous year. When matched with November 2016, the exports during the month were up sharply by 57.5%.
The annual steel exports by the US totaled 9.31 million net tons in 2016. The yearly exports declined sharply by 6.6% when matched with the previous year. The US steel exports had totaled 9.97 million net tons during the whole year 2015.
Canada continued to be the primary importer of US steel products. The exports to Canada totaled 4.66 million net tons, accounting for over 50% of the total exports by the US during all of 2016. The exports to Canada dropped by nearly 5% over the previous year. The exports to Mexico-the second largest importer of US steel, declined by nearly 4% to total 3.68 million net tons. The Mexican imports constituted nearly 40% of the total US exports in 2016. The exports to the EU region were down significantly by 22.6% over the previous year, despite sharp jump during Q4 2016. The exports to the region totaled 253,815 net tons in 2016. The top two importing nations-Canada and Mexico accounted for nearly 90% of the total US steel exports during the year.
Meantime, US steel mill shipments rebounded sharply by nearly 6.7% month-on-month in December last year. Also, the Dec ’16 shipments recorded notable increase of nearly 9.4%, when matched with the shipments during the same month in 2015. The full year 2016 steel shipments remained more or less flat, declining marginally by 0.02% from 86,546,657 net tons in 2015 to 86,533,341 net tons during the entire year 2016. The total and finished steel imports for the full year 2016 totaled 32,969,000 and 26,248,000 net tons, down by 15.0% and 16.7% respectively, vs. the same period in 2015.
According to AISI, the global economic conditions and the state of economies in Canada and Mexico led to decreased exports during the year. The steel body noted that prospects are not looking for 2017, mainly due to lack of any sign of strengthening in the Mexican economy. Added to that, the plans to build wall on the southern border may hamper bilateral trade between the US and Mexico. The renegotiation of the NAFTA may also impact net exports of American products including steel, AISI noted.