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US metal imports slow in February but Q2 recovery seen

Reuters reported that Mother Nature's wrath likely had a hand in slowing US imports of aluminum and copper in February but if seasonal demand trends hold true, shipments should recover in the months ahead.

Data from the US International Trade Commission showed that copper imports fell for a third straight month in February to 50,494 tonnes. The February figure brought the two-month total to 107,892 tonnes down more than 11% from 121,626 tonnes in the corresponding period of 2010.

Inbound shipments of aluminum slowed to 103,891 tonnes in February bringing total imports for the first 2 months of the year to 210,083 tonnes over 17% below the 254,281 tonnes reported last year.

Record setting snowfall totals across much of the country caused many end users and manufacturers to either cancel or delay bookings of material in January and February. But as metal intensive industries like construction and automotive head into the seasonally stronger second quarter, import levels should respond accordingly.

Mr Nicholas Snowdon an analyst with Barclays Capital in New York said that "Demand signals from the US for base metals are pretty positive and heading in the right direction. As auto plants pick up it's likely to have a positive effect on the level of inventory OEMs and automakers will have going forward."

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