Steel Imports Rise in January as Manufacturers Look for Sustained Recovery in 2011

Precision Metalforming Association (PMA) President William E. Gaskin said January’s increase in steel imports offers continued indication that the U.S. manufacturing sector recovery continues to slowly move forward as the sector rebounds from the recession of 2009 and an uneven 2010.  According to preliminary data issued by the U.S. Department of Commerce, total steel imports increased 9% from December's levels of 1,697,813 metric tons to 1,858,289 metric tons in January.

"The opening import figures for 2011 suggest a healthy and growing demand for steel in the U.S., which signals continued recovery of shipping levels  in 2011, building on modest growth in 2010,” said Gaskin. "This sentiment is supported by PMA’s February monthly survey of metalforming company executives, which found that 61 percent of participants anticipate an increase in orders in the next three months, and after a dip in shipments in December 48 percent anticipate higher shipments over the next three months as well. The percentage of companies this month with a portion of their workforce on short time or layoff is 13%, a significantly lower figure than February 2010, when 47% of respondents reported employees on short time or layoff."

"The elements appear to be in place for an improved 2011," continued Gaskin. "The next step is for policymakers to help reinforce the likelihood of manufacturing growth with policies that increase the industry's competitiveness. We commend the Administration’s current initiative to eliminate burdensome regulations and support business growth, and we strongly believe that our sector is more than capable of keeping pace with our international competitors.  Yet the future health of manufacturing may ultimately depend on how effectively we tackle the challenges our companies face in terms of tax, health and trade policy, and the availability of skilled workers."

Imports of hot-rolled steel – the product used most frequently by metalforming companies – rose 1% in January to 199,640 metric tons, up from 196,820 metric tons in December.  Cold-rolled imports fell 18% in January to 86,043 metric tons, down from December’s level of 104,642 metric tons.  On a year-to-date basis, January’s total steel imports were up 23% over January 2010 levels, and combined January imports of hot-and-cold-rolled steel were up 20% from January 2010.

PMA is the full-service trade association representing the $113-billion metalforming industry of North America—the industry that creates precision metal products using stamping, fabricating, spinning, slide forming and roll forming technologies, and other value-added processes. Its nearly 1,000 member companies also include suppliers of equipment, materials and services to the industry.  PMA leads innovative member companies toward superior competitiveness and profitability through advocacy, networking, statistics, the PMA Educational Foundation, METALFORM tradeshows and MetalForming magazine.

For more information, visit http://www.pma.org/

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