JULY 2008

Steel import permit applications decrease

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 May totaled 2,393,000 net tons (NT). This was a 20 percent decrease from the 2,988,000 permit tons recorded in April 2008, and a 19 percent decrease from the April preliminary imports total of 2,944,000 NT.

Import permit tonnage for finished steel in May was 1,916,000 NT, a decrease of 13 percent from the preliminary imports total of 2,194,000 NT in April. For the first five months of 2008 (including May SIMA and April preliminary), total steel imports were 13,058,000 NT, down 12 percent from the 14,772,000 NT imported in the first five months of 2007. Total steel imports for 2008 would annualize at 31.3 million NT, 6 percent below the 2007 total.

For May 2008, the largest finished steel import permit applications for offshore countries were for China (285,000 NT), Korea (184,000 NT), India (123,000 NT), Japan (113,000 NT) and Germany (77,000 NT). Finished steel import permit applications for China increased 58 percent in May compared to April preliminary imports and were the highest monthly total for 2008 so far. Product categories that increased in May vs. April preliminary include: Hot Dipped Galvanized Sheet & Strip (up percent 80), Oil Country Goods (up 26 percent), Heavy Structural Shapes (up 9 percent) and Tin Plate (up 37 percent). Significant products that showed a year-to-date increase vs. 2007 include: Oil Country Goods (up 18 percent) and Line Pipe (up 16 percent).