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 September totaled 3,026,000 net tons (NT)*. This was a 15.7% decrease from the 3,591,000 permit tons recorded in August and a 9.6% decrease from the August preliminary imports total of 3,349,000 NT. Import permit tonnage for finished steel in September was 2,377,000, down 1.9% from the preliminary imports total of 2,422,000 in August. For the first nine months of 2017 (including September SIMA permits and August preliminary data), total and finished steel imports were 29,587,000 NT and 22,778,000 NT, up 19.3% and 15.1%, respectively, from the same period in 2016. The estimated finished steel import market share in September was 26% and is 27% year-to-date (YTD).
Finished steel imports with large increases in September permits vs. the August preliminary included light shapes bars (up 185%), standard rails (up 140%), hot rolled bars (up 34%), oil country goods (up 21%), tin plate (up 16%) and line pipe (up 12%). Products with significant year-to date (YTD) increases vs. the same period in 2016 include oil country goods (up 254%), line pipe (up 55%), standard pipe (up 45%), mechanical tubing (up 32%), cold rolled sheets (up 28%), sheets and strip all other metallic coatings (up 27%), structural pipe and tubing (up 22%), sheets and strip hot dipped galvanized (up 21%) and hot rolled bars (up 21%).
In September, the largest finished steel import permit applications for offshore countries were for South Korea (343,000 NT, down 2% from August preliminary), Japan (158,000 NT, up 24%), Germany (139,000 NT, up 41%), Taiwan (134,000 NT, up 11%) and Brazil (98,000 NT, up 21%). Through the first nine months of 2017, the largest offshore suppliers were South Korea (2,963,000 NT, down 1% from the same period in 2016), Turkey (1,919,000 NT, up 4%) and Japan (1,224,000 NT, down 15%).
* 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.