May 2008

Applications for steel import permits down from February

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 March totaled 2,413,000 net tons (NT).

This was a 2 percent decrease from the 2,454,000 permit tons recorded in February 2008, and also a 2 percent decrease from the February preliminary imports total of 2,458,000 NT. Import permit tonnage for finished steel in March was 1,960,000 NT, an increase of 3 percent from the preliminary imports of 1,905,000 NT in February.

For the first three months of 2008 (including March SIMA and February preliminary), total steel imports were 7,537,000 NT, down 13 percent from the 8,655,000 NT imported in the first quarter (1Q) of last year.

For March 2008, the largest finished steel import permit applications for offshore countries were for China (233,000 NT), Korea (189,000 NT), Japan (133,000 NT), India (117,000 NT) and Germany (80,000 NT). Finished steel import permit applications for China declined 1 percent in March compared to February preliminary imports.

Product categories that increased in March vs. February preliminary include: Cut Length Plates (up 110 percent), Standard Pipe (up 60 percent), Oil Country Goods (up 43 percent) and Hot Dipped Galvanized Sheet & Strip (up 35 percent).

Products that showed an increase in 1Q 2008 vs. 1Q 2007 include: Oil Country Goods (up 44 percent), Standard Pipe (up 13 percent), and Structural Shapes Heavy (up 6 percent).