Steel import permit applications stable for October

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 October totaled 2,908,000 net tons (NT).

This was a 1 percent increase from the 2,867,000 permit tons recorded in September 2008, and a 0.5 percent decrease from the September preliminary imports total of 2,921,000 NT. Import permit tonnage for finished steel in October was 2,340,000 NT, a decrease of 4 percent from the preliminary imports total of 2,428,000 NT in September. For the first 10 months of 2008 (including October SIMA and September preliminary), total steel imports were 27,215,000 NT, down 6 percent from the 28,918,000 NT imported in the first 10 months of last year. Total steel imports for 2008 would annualize at 32.7 million NT, or 2 percent below the 2007 12-month total.

For October 2008, the largest finished steel import permit applications for offshore countries were for China (658,000 NT), South Korea (171,000 NT), Japan, (170,000 NT) and The Netherlands (91,000 NT). Mainly because of highest 2008 monthly amounts of import permits for Hot Rolled Bars, Line Pipe and Wire Rod from China, Chinese permit tons rose significantly for the third consecutive month and set a new monthly high for 2008. Permit tonnage for Chinese steel increased 16 percent in October vs. September preliminary imports, and represented 28 percent of total finished SIMA permit tons.

Major import products that registered large increases in October vs. the September preliminary include Hot Rolled Bars (up 73 percent) and Wire Rod (up 54 percent). Import product categories with significant increases year-to-date vs. 2007 include Oil Country Goods (up 73 percent), Hot Rolled Bars (up 15 percent) and Hot Rolled Sheets (up 11 percent).