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  February 29th, 2016 | Written by

U.S. Steel Trade Down in 2015

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  • The U.S. imported one-eighth less steel in 2015 than it did the year before.
  • A recession in Canada and a strong U.S. dollar account for the decrease in U.S. steel exports in 2015.
  • About half of U.S. steel exports go to Canada; exports to north of the border fell 23.3 percent last year.

U.S. steel exports fell by 17.2 percent from 2014 to 2015 to a total of 9.97 million net tons, according to figures released by the American Institute for International Steel.

Steel imports closed out 2015 well below their 2014 levels, with the U.S. bringing in one-eighth less steel than it did the year before.

AIIS blamed a recession in Canada and a strong U.S. dollar for the decrease in steel exports of more than one-sixth in 2015.

About half of U.S. steel exports go to Canada. The amount of steel being sent north of the border fell by 23.3 percent to 4.9 million tons last year. This decrease of 1.5 million tons accounted for 75 percent of the overall export decline. Most of the remaining decrease resulted from an 8.1-percent decline in exports to Mexico, which totaled 3.83 million net tons in 2015. Exports to the European Union slipped two percent to 327,911 net tons.

The year ended on a slight up-note with monthly exports increasing in December. The 1.9-percent increase from November was driven by a 10.2-percent growth of exports to Mexico, but the December figure was still 12.5 percent less than in December 2014. Exports to Canada fell 4.2 percent in December.

Imports fell 12.6 percent to 38.77 million tons with the biggest decrease being registered in steel imported from Russia, which was down 54.8 percent to 2.12 million tons. Imports from the European Union declined 15.2 percent, from Canada 4.2 percent, and from South Korea 11.4 percent.

2016 may be a better year for exports, according to AIIS with moderate economic growth forecast for Canada and a stronger expansion expected in Mexico. Steel imports will likely continue to trend downward in 2016, the organization said.