American Institute for International Steel (AIIS) said that the US exported more steel than it imported in August for the first time in more than 50 years. AIIS said that government data indicated US steel exports totaled 800,000tns while imports amounted to 975,000tns during the month. Mr David Phelps, president of AIIS, said that the group, which advocates for free trade and opposes tariffs, subtracted imports of 156,000tns of semi finished steel and 30,000tns of hot rolled steel because that metal is turned into other steel mill products that are considered domestic. Mr Phelps said in a statement that the August data reflected a dramatic development that shows the increasing importance of US exports of steel to international markets, which are returning to stronger levels of demand. But Ms Nancy Gravatt, spokeswoman for the Washington based American Iron & Steel Institute, said that the group’s analysis was puzzling and somewhat selective in terms of looking at the big picture. Her group views the government data for August as showing a trade deficit of 175,000tns of steel for August.