Steel import permits down 15 percent

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 2,082,000 net tons (NT). This was a 15 percent decrease from the 2,436,000 permit tons recorded in July and a 14 percent decrease from the July preliminary imports total of 2,415,000 NT.

Import permit tonnage for finished steel in August was 1,623,000 NT, down 10 percent from the preliminary imports total of 1,797,000 NT in July. August total and finished steel import permit tons would annualize at 24,305,000 NT and 18,912,000 NT, up 49 percent and 33 percent, respectively, from the 16,215,000 NT and 14,179,000 NT imported in 2009.

In August, the largest finished steel import permit applications for offshore countries were for Korea (189,000 NT, down 4 percent from July), Japan (148,000 NT, up 19 percent), Turkey (103,000 NT, up 110 percent), China (101,000 NT, up 8 percent) and Taiwan (73,000 NT, up 172 percent). This was the first month import permit tonnage for China has exceeded 100,000 NT since May 2009. Finished steel import market share in August and year-to-date are 20 percent and 21 percent, respectively.

Finished steel import permits for major product categories that registered significant increases in August vs. the July preliminary include sheet and strip all other metallic coatings (up 76 percent), reinforcing bar (up 59 percent) and hot rolled bars (up 15 percent).