November import permits up 0.7 percent over October
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 2,557,000 net tons (NT). This was a 6 percent decrease from the 2,721,000 permit tons recorded in October and up 0.7 percent from the October preliminary imports total of 2,540,000 NT.
Import permit tonnage for finished steel in November was 2,014,000 NT, down 2 percent from the preliminary imports total of 2,059,000 NT in October. November 2012 total and finished steel import permit tons would annualize at 33,581,000 NT and 26,130,000 NT, up 18 percent and 20 percent, respectively, vs. the 28,515,000 NT and 21,835,000 NT imported in 2011. The estimated finished steel import market share in November was 24 percent, and it is 24 percent through 11 months of 2012.
Finished steel imports with large increases in November permits vs. the October preliminary include reinforcing bars (up 45 percent), hot rolled bars (up 39 percent), plates in coils (up 36 percent), sheets and strip all other metallic coatings (up 25 percent) and cold rolled sheets (up 17 percent). Major products with significant year-to-date (YTD) increases vs. the same period in 2011 include reinforcing bars (up 55 percent), line pipe (up 40 percent), sheets and strip galvanized hot dipped (up 38 percent), oil country goods (up 28 percent), sheets and strip all other metallic coatings (up 23 percent) and cut lengths plates (up 22 percent).
In November, the largest finished steel import permit applications for offshore countries were for South Korea (290,000 NT, down 22 percent from October), China (175,000 NT, up 49 percent), Japan (147,000 NT, down 18 percent), Turkey (96,000 NT, up 37 percent) and Germany (93,000 NT, down 10 percent). Through the first 11 months of 2012, the largest offshore suppliers were South Korea (3,471,000 NT, up 32 percent from the same period in 2011), Japan (1,844,000 NT, up 37 percent) and China (1,484,000 NT, up 30 percent).
“The November data indicates that steel imports continue to capture a very high level of U.S. market share,” AISI president and chief executive officer Thomas J. Gibson, said, “and this is not through any competitive advantage, but largely as a result of government subsidies, currency manipulation, trade barriers and dumping. We continue to seek aggressive engagement by the U.S. federal government to stem this import surge, which is left unchecked, will slow the industry’s recovery from the recession and will result in additional job loss throughout the steel supply chain.”