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March 2004

Specialty Steel Industry Trade Group Releases Latest U.S. Market Data

Washington— The Specialty Steel Industry of North America (SSINA) released statistics covering U.S. imports, consumption and market penetration for January through November 2003.

Year-to-date imports through November 2003 of total specialty steel (stainless steel, alloy tool steel, electrical steel) decreased 1% to 610,898 tons compared to the same 2002 period. (All comparisons are with the corresponding period in the previous year unless otherwise noted.) Concurrently, U.S. consumption of total specialty steel decreased 2% to 2,382,214. The net result is that import penetration increased one percentage point to 26% year on year.

Imports and U.S. consumption of stainless steel, the industry's largest product line, decreased. Imports have declined 7% to 454,349 tons. Domestic consumption also decreased, but a lesser rate, dropping 2% to 1,954,959 tons. Eleven-month import penetration was 23%, a two percentage point decrease.

Stainless steel sheet/strip import penetration remained at 19% year on year. Imports increased 2% to 279,781 tons, while consumption decreased 2% to 1,443,322 tons.

Stainless steel plate import penetration dropped five percentage points to 18% year on year. Imports declined 13% to 47,109 tons. At the same time, U.S. consumption increased 11% to 260,788 tons.

Imports of stainless steel bar and stainless steel rod decreased dramatically year on year. Both products were covered by the Bush Administration's import relief program, which was in effect until December 2003 when the President announced its early termination.

Stainless steel bar import penetration decreased four percentage points to 38%. Total imports of stainless steel bar dropped 18% to 63,294 tons, while domestic consumption during the same period decreased 8% to 168,714 tons.

Stainless steel rod import penetration decreased nine percentage points year on year to 56%. Imports of stainless steel rod dropped 39% to 33,111 tons, while consumption has fallen 28% to 59,639 tons.

Import levels of stainless steel wire increased 6% year on year to 31,054 tons. Alloy tool steel and electrical steel import levels increased 14% and 25%, respectively, year on year. Import penetration of electrical steel increased five percentage points to 21% in YTD November 2003.

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