Based on the US Commerce Department’s most recent Steel Import Monitoring and Analysis (SIMA) data, the American Iron and Steel Institute (AISI) reported Wednesday that steel import permit applications for the month of April total 3,682,000 net tons (nt). This was a 4 percent increase from the 3,551,000 permit tons recorded in March and 14 percent increase from the March final imports total of 3,234,000 nt. Import permit tonnage for finished steel in April was 2,658,000 nt, up 9 percent from the final imports total of 2,439,000 nt in March. For the first 4 months of 2014 (including April SIMA and March final), total and finished steel imports were 13,407,000 nt and 9,814,000 nt, respectively, up 29 percent and 19 percent from the same period in 2013. The estimated finished steel import market share in April was 28 percent and is 26 percent year-to-date (YTD).
Finished steel imports with large increases in April permits vs. the March final included standard rails (up 108 percent), wire rods (up 55 percent), standard pipe (up 52 percent), heavy structural shapes (up 41 percent), cold rolled sheets (up 34 percent), line pipe (up 29 percent) and hot rolled bars (up 19 percent). Products with significant year-to-date (YTD) increases vs. the same period in 2013 include wire rods (up 105 percent), plates in coils (up 63 percent), cold rolled sheets (up 54 percent), reinforcing bars (up 40 percent), sheets and strip hot dipped galvanized (up 36 percent), sheets and strip all other metallic coatings (up 35 percent), hot rolled sheets (32 percent), mechanical tubing (31 percent), oil country goods (up 16 percent) and cut lengths plates (up 12 percent).
In April, the largest finished steel import permit applications for offshore countries were for South Korea (402,000 nt, up 16 percent from March final), China (398,000 nt up 99 percent), Japan (195,000 nt, up 14 percent), Turkey (121,000 nt, down 29 percent) and Russia (103,000 nt, up 3 percent). Through the first four months of 2014, the largest offshore suppliers were South Korea (1,568,000 nt, up 27 percent from the same period in 2013), China (965,000 nt, up 73 percent) and Japan (692,000 nt, up 5 percent).