Steel import permit applications up

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 September totaled 1,252,000 net tons (NT). This was a 26 percent increase from the 997,000 permit tons recorded in August 2009 and a 47 percent increase from the August preliminary imports total of 855,000 NT.

Import permit tonnage for finished steel in September was 1,024,000 NT, an increase of 30 percent from the preliminary imports total of 786,000 NT in August. September 2009 total and finished steel import permit tons would annualize at 15,629,000 NT and 14,344,000 NT, down 51 percent and 45 percent, respectively, from the 31,927,000 NT and 25,956,000 NT imported in 2008

In September 2009, the largest finished steel import permit applications for offshore countries were for Korea (64,000 NT, down 24 percent from August), The Netherlands (51,000 NT, up 89 percent), Japan (45,000 NT, up 63 percent) and China (44,000 NT, up 45 percent). Finished steel import market share in September is estimated at 16 percent and at 23 percent year-to-date.

Finished steel import permits for products that registered increases in September vs. the August preliminary include line pipe (93 percent), oil country goods (81 percent), cut length plates (79 percent), heavy structural shapes (68 percent), hot dipped galvanized sheets (49 percent) and hot rolled sheets (34 percent).

“The September import surge is of serious concern,” Thomas J. Gibson, AISI president and CEO, said. “Once again, we see a significant increase in imports threatening important product markets, including, as the data indicates, line pipe, oil country goods and heavy structural shapes, among others.”