Finished steel imports ended 2008 down 5
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 December totaled
2,009,000 net tons (NT).
This was a 15 percent decrease from
the 2,366,000 permit tons recorded
in November 2008, and a 10 percent
decline from the November preliminary
imports total of 2,241,000 NT.
Import permit tonnage for finished
steel in December was 1,797,000 NT,
a decrease of 13 percent from the
preliminary imports total of 2,058,000
NT in November.
For 2008 (including December SIMA
and November preliminary), total
and finished steel imports were 31,703,000
NT and 25,739,000 NT, down 5 and
3 percent, respectively, from the
33,244,000 NT and 26,587,000 NT imported
In December 2008, the largest finished
steel import permit applications
for offshore countries were for China
(488,000 NT), India (132,000 NT),
South Korea, (102,000 NT) and Japan
(94,000 NT). Chinese permit tonnage
was more than Canada and Mexico combined,
and over three times that of any
other offshore supplier.
While permit tonnage for Chinese
steel decreased 17 percent in December
vs. November preliminary imports,
this was 27 percent of total SIMA
finished steel permit tonnage.
Major finished steel import products
that registered large increases in
December vs. the November preliminary
include Heavy Structural Shapes (up
52 percent) and Cold finished Bars
(up 16 percent). Import products
with significant increases for full
year 2008 vs. 2007 include Oil Country
Goods (up 103 percent) and Hot Rolled
Bars (up 12 percent).
In summing up 2008 imports (including
November preliminary and December
SIMA data), AISI President and CEO
Thomas J. Gibson said that, “While
overall imports have been fairly
stable, imports from China surged
in the second half.
Of particular concern is that the
China import surge in the fourth
quarter took place at a time when
United States end-use market demand
and domestic steel production were
both down significantly.