JUNE 2008

Steel import permit applications up 14%

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 April totaled 2,911,000 net tons (NT). This was a 14 percent increase from the 2,546,000 permit tons recorded in March 2008, and also a 16 percent increase from the March preliminary imports total of 2,513,000 NT. Import permit tonnage for finished steel in April was 2,217,000 NT, an increase of 7 percent from the preliminary imports of 2,064,000 NT in March. For the first four months of 2008 (including April SIMA and March preliminary), total steel imports were 10,574,000 NT, down 8 percent from the 11,504,000 NT imported in the first four months of last year. Total steel imports for 2008 would annualize at 31.7 million NT, or 5 percent below the 2007 12-month total.

For April 2008, the largest finished steel import permit applications for offshore countries were for Korea (190,000 NT), China (185,000 NT), Japan (172,000 NT), Turkey (163,000 NT) and Germany (146,000 NT). Finished steel import permit applications for China declined 23 percent in April compared to March preliminary imports. Product categories that increased in April vs. March preliminary include: Billets & slabs (up percent 55), wire rod (up 89 percent), reinforcing bar (up 57 percent) tin free steel (up 71 percent) and plates in coils (up 22 percent). Significant products that showed a year-to-date increase vs. 2007 include: Oil country goods (up 18 percent), line pipe (up 26 percent) and structural shapes heavy (up 10 percent).