JUNE 2009

Steel import applications drop

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 1,170,000 net tons (NT).

This was a 22 percent decrease from both the 1,503,000 permit tons recorded in March 2009 and the March preliminary imports total of 1,505,000 NT. Import permit tonnage for finished steel in April was 1,046,000 NT, a decrease of 27 percent from the preliminary imports total of 1,437,000 NT in March and the lowest monthly import figure since February 1993.

In April 2009, the largest finished steel import permit applications for offshore countries were for China (93,000 NT), India (76,000 NT), Japan (73,000 NT), South Korea (68,000 NT) and Germany (51,000 NT). Finished imports from NAFTA countries were at the same import market share as in March (32 percent). However, finished imports from a large number of smaller foreign suppliers actually increased in April vs. the prior month. Finished steel import market share in April, despite the 27 percent monthly drop from March, is estimated at 24 percent, equal to 2008.

Finished steel import products that registered increases in April vs. the March preliminary include Electrolytic Galvanized Sheet and Strip (up 23 percent) and Heavy Structural Shapes (up 16 percent). Year-to-date, imports of Oil Country Tubular Goods (OCTG) remain significantly higher (up 48 percent).