Total steel import permits decline

Based on the Commerce Department’s most recent Steel Import Monitoring and Analysis data, the American Iron and Steel Institute reported that steel import permit applications for the month of August totaled 952,000 net tons (NT). This was a 3 percent decrease from the 978,000 permit tons recorded in July 2009 and a 3 percent decrease from the July preliminary imports total of 985,000 NT. Import permit tonnage for finished steel in August was 801,000 NT, a decrease of 9 percent from the preliminary imports total of 884,000 NT in July. The finished import permits for August are lower than any prior 2009 finished import monthly totals. August 2009 total and finished steel import permit tons would annualize at 15,841,000 NT and 14,613,000 NT, down 50 percent and 44 percent, respectively, from the 31,927,000 NT and 25,956,000 NT imported in 2008

In August 2009, the largest finished steel import permit applications for offshore countries were for Korea (84,000 NT, up 14 percent from July), Japan (38,000 NT, down 56 percent), Brazil (37,000 NT, up 365 percent) and China (32,000 NT, up 9 percent). Finished steel import market share in August is estimated at 15 percent and at 24 percent year-to-date.

Finished steel import permits for products that registered increases in August vs. the July preliminary include wire rods (114 percent), hot rolled sheets (55 percent) and cold rolled sheets (40 percent). In addition, due to the aforementioned hot and cold rolled sheet gains, total sheet product permits increased 24 percent vs. the July preliminary figures.