May’s finished steel imports near 2012 peak monthly level
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 2,895,000 net tons (NT). This was a 10 percent decrease from the 3,230,000 permit tons recorded in April and a 3 percent decrease from the April preliminary imports total of 2,997,000 NT.
Import permit tonnage for finished steel in May was 2,298,000 NT, down 2 percent from the preliminary imports total of 2,336,000 NT in April. The 2.3 million permit tons of finished steel imports in May was the 2nd highest monthly total in 2012 and only slightly below the April 2012 peak amount.
May 2012 total and finished steel import permit tons would annualize at 34,787,000 NT and 26,731,000 NT, each up 22 percent, respectively, versus the 28,515,000 NT and 21,835,000 NT imported in 2011. The estimated finished steel import market share in May was 24 percent.
In May, the largest finished steel import permit applications for offshore countries were for South Korea (301,000 NT, up 12 percent from April), Japan (203,000 NT, up 42 percent), China (170,000 NT, up 20 percent), Turkey (124,000 NT, down 27 percent) and Germany (119,000 NT, up 40 percent). Through the first 5 months of 2012, the largest offshore suppliers were South Korea (1,496,000 NT, up 26 percent from the same period in 2011), Japan (831,000 NT, up 31 percent) and Turkey (806,000 NT, up 123 percent).
Finished steel import permits for products that registered large increases in May versus the April preliminary include standard pipe (up 38 percent), line pipe (up 38 percent), cold rolled sheets (up 27 percent), oil country goods (up 26 percent) and hot rolled bars (up 26 percent). Major products with significant year-to-date increases versus the same period in 2011 include reinforcing bars (up 54 percent), cut length plates (up 52 percent) and sheets and strip galvanized hot dipped (up 43 percent).