JANUARY 2009

Steel import permit applications decline

Based on the Commerce Department’s most recent Steel Import Monitoring and Analysis (SIMA) data, the American Iron and Steel Institute (AISI) reported that steel import permit applications for the month of November totaled 2,277,000 net tons (NT). This was a 23 percent decrease from the 2,967,000 permit tons recorded in October 2008, as well as from the October preliminary imports total of 2,964,000 NT.

Import permit tonnage for finished steel in November was 2,123,000 NT, a decrease of 9 percent from the preliminary imports total of 2,344,000 NT in October. For the first 11 months of 2008 (including November and October preliminary), total steel imports were 29,576,000 NT, down 5 percent from 31,240,000 NT imported in the first 11 months of last year.

For November 2008, the largest finished steel import permit applications for offshore countries were for China (555,000 NT), South Korea (236,000 NT), and Turkey (154,000 NT).

Mainly because of highest 2008 monthly amounts of import permits for Pipe and Tubular Products from China, Chinese permit tons were the third highest monthly amount for 2008. Permit tonnage for Chinese steel decreased 22 percent in November vs. October preliminary imports, and represented 26 percent of total finished SIMA permit tons.

Major import products that registered large increases in November vs. the October preliminary include Cut Length Plates (up 41 percent), Plates in Coils (up 27 percent) and Oil Country Goods (up 13 percent). Import product categories with significant increases year-to-date vs. 2007 include Oil Country Goods (up 89 percent) and Hot Rolled Bars (up 10 percent).

“With the sharp decline in global steel demand this quarter, it is of great concern that China is sending record levels of finished steel imports into the United States,” Thomas J. Gibson, AISI president and CEO, said. “The startling jump in pipe and tube imports, at 450,000 tons, is a red flag for our government to strictly enforce United States laws against dumped and subsidized imports.”