JULY 2009

Steel import permit applications down in May

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 1,015,000 net tons (NT). This was a 15 percent decrease from the 1,187,000 permit tons recorded in April 2009 and a 16 percent decrease from the April preliminary imports total of 1,214,000 NT. Import permit tonnage for finished steel in May was 999,000 NT, a decrease of 10 percent from the preliminary imports total of 1,107,000 NT in April and the lowest such monthly import figure since February 1993. May 2009 total and finished steel import permit tons would annualize at 18,543,000 NT and 17,310,000 NT, down 42 percent and 33 percent, respectively, from the 31,927,000 NT and 25,956,000 NT imported in 2008.

In May, the largest finished steel import permit applications for offshore countries were for China (153,000 NT, up 56 percent from April), South Korea (120,000 NT, up 70 percent), Japan (73,000 NT, down 13 percent), Taiwan (34,000 NT, no change) and India (27,000 NT, down 66 percent). Finished steel import market share in May is estimated at 21 percent.

Finished steel import products that registered increases in May vs. the April preliminary include Reinforcing Bar (up 54 percent), Oil Country Goods (up 37 percent) and Plates in Coils (up 19 percent). Year-to-date, imports of Oil Country Tubular Goods (OCTG) remain significantly higher (up 31 percent).