Finished steel imports up 11 percent in April
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 3,074,000 net tons (NT). This was a 5 percent decrease from the 3,248,000 permit tons recorded in March and a 6 percent increase from the March preliminary imports total of 2,899,000 NT.
Import permit tonnage for finished steel in April was 2,394,000 NT, up 11 percent from the preliminary imports total of 2,163,000 NT in March. The 2.4 million permit tons of finished steel imports in April was the highest monthly tonnage figure in over 3.5 years (since October 2008). The estimated finished steel import market share in April rose to 25 percent, which is the highest level in the last 9 months.
In April, the largest finished steel import permit applications for offshore countries were for South Korea (335,000 NT, up 23 percent from March), Japan (166,000 NT, down 7 percent), China (164,000 NT, up 57 percent), Russia (148,000 NT, up 358 percent) and Turkey (121,000 NT, down 26 percent). For the first 4 months of 2012, the largest offshore suppliers were South Korea (1,260,000 NT, up 32 percent from the same period in 2011), Japan (653,000 NT, up 35 percent) and Turkey (634,000 NT, up 133 percent).
Finished steel import permits for products that registered large increases in April versus the March preliminary include plates in coils (up 134 percent), sheets and strip all other metallic coated (up 48 percent), hot rolled sheets (up 43 percent), sheets and strip galvanized hot dipped (up 37 percent) and hot rolled bars (up 26 percent). Major products with significant year-to-date (YTD) increases versus the same period in 2011 include plates in coils (up 66 percent), cut length plates (up 63 percent) and reinforcing bar (up 54 percent). Notable YTD import increases in products from offshore countries include plate in coils from Russia (111,000 tons, up 1,501 percent), reinforcing bar from Turkey (195,000 tons, up 135 percent) and cut length plates from Korea (65,000 tonnage, up 538 percent).