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 August totaled 2,363,000 net tons (NT). This was a 21 percent decrease from the 2,991,000 permit tons recorded in July 2008, and a 17 percent decline from the July preliminary imports total of 2,842,000 NT.

Import permit tonnage for finished steel in August was 1,922,000 NT, a decrease of 12 percent from the preliminary imports total of 2,177,000 NT in July. For the first eight months of 2008 (including August SIMA and July preliminary), total steel imports were 21,136,000 NT, down 11 percent from the 23,636,000 NT imported in the first eight months of last year. Total steel imports for 2008 would annualize at 31.7 million NT, or 5 percent below the 2007 12-month total.

For August 2008, the largest finished steel import permit applications for offshore countries were for China (490,000 NT), South Korea (193,000 NT), Japan (149,000 NT) and India (66,000 NT). Due in part to a surge in import permits for hot rolled bars from China, Chinese steel permit tons set a new monthly high for 2008, exceeding the previous monthly high this year (369,000 NT in June) by 33 percent. Permit tonnage for Chinese steel increased 55 percent in August compared to China’s preliminary imports in July and were at the highest monthly level since June 2007 (512,000 NT).