US general imports of aluminum waste and scrap fell to 124.3 million lb in February, down over 6.5 million lb from January, according to data released Wednesday by the US Department of Commerce and the US International Trade Commission.
The total surpassed February levels in 2015 and 2016 by 31.6 million lb and 27.6 million lb, respectively. At the current rate, the US is on pace to bring in roughly 1.58 billion lb of aluminum waste and scrap by the end of 2017. In 2016, US imports finished just shy of 1.3 billion lb.
However, the February daily rate for aggregated imports was higher than 4.4 million lb/d, which was greater than the January rate of 4.2 million lb/d.
For the second straight month, the largest share of inflows came from the US' immediate northern and southern neighbors. Canada and Mexico sent 55.7 million lb and 36.7 million lb, respectively, combining for almost 75% of the US' general imports. That figure is down from 81% in January. Canadian exports to the US decreased by over 13.8 million lb month on month, while Mexico's exports jumped over 386,000 lb.
Guatemala skidded back two places to be February's fifth biggest source of US imports, and Venezuela and Spain moved up one spot from January, rounding out at fourth and fifth.
February US total exports of aluminum waste and scrap materials also fell month on month, dropping 8.5 million lb to 230.1 million lb, according to DOC and ITC data.
The February 2017 finish was 2.8 million lb higher than the 2016 value.
China was again the leading destination, with nearly 130 million lb.
Despite the decline in exports and a relatively mild winter in the US Midwest, there consistently has been a shortage of aluminum scrap supply for alloying in the US domestic market.