WASHINGTON, D.C. – Based on the Commerce Department’s most recent Steel Import Monitoring and Analysis (SIMA) data, the American Iron and Steel Institute (AISI) reported today that steel import permit applications for the month of March totaled 3,480,000 net tons (NT)*. This was a 41.6% increase from the 2,458,000 permit tons recorded in February and a 47.3% increase from the February preliminary imports total of 2,363,000 NT. Import permit tonnage for finished steel in March was 2,540,000, up 32.1% from the preliminary imports total of 1,923,000 in February. For the first three months of 2018 (including March SIMA permits and February preliminary data), total and finished steel imports were 8,725,000 NT and 6,797,000 NT, down 2.6% and 2.2%, respectively, from the same period in 2017. The estimated finished steel import market share in March was 26% and is 25% year-to-date (YTD).
Finished steel imports with large increases in March permits vs. the February preliminary included reinforcing bars (up 338%), standard rails (up 107%), plates in coils (up 56%), standard pipe (up 45%), oil country goods (up 42%), cold rolled sheets (up 41%), mechanical tubing (up 39%), sheets and strip galvanized hot dipped (up 35%), hot rolled sheets (up 33%), structural pipe and tubing (up 26%), and line pipe (up 11%). Products with significant year-to date (YTD) increases vs. the same period in 2017 include oil country goods (up 44%), hot rolled sheets (up 31%), plates in coils (up 29%), mechanical tubing (up 26%), hot rolled bars (up 16%) and line pipe (up 11%).
In March, the largest finished steel import permit applications for offshore countries were for South Korea (361,000 NT, up 31% from February preliminary), Turkey (186,000 NT, up 233%), Japan (149,000 NT, up 67%), Russia (92,000 NT, up 135%) and Taiwan (88,000 NT, up 18%). Through the first three months of 2018, the largest offshore suppliers were South Korea (978,000 NT, up 10% from the same period last year), Japan (382,000 NT, no change) and Turkey (381,000 NT, down 52%).
* Monthly permit numbers provided to date may be understated, as entry documentation with the required import license number may be submitted up to ten days after imports have entered U.S. commerce.
Source: Yan Steel