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 February total 2,558,000 tons. This was a 5% decrease from the 2,692,000 permit tons recorded in January and down 0.8% from the January preliminary imports total of 2,579,000 tons. Import permit tonnage for finished steel in February was 1,937,000, down 8% from the preliminary imports total of 2,106,000 in January. February 2013 total and finished steel import permit tons would annualize at 30,822,000 tons and 25,258,000 tons, down 8% and 6%, respectively, vs. the 33,475,000 tons and 25,826,000 tons imported in 2012. The estimated finished steel import market share in February was 22% and is 23% year-to-date (YTD).
Finished steel imports with large increases in February permits vs. the January preliminary included cut length plates (up 65%), plates in coils (up 29%), standard rails (up 29%) and sheets and strip all other metallic coatings (up 19%). Major products with significant year-to-date (YTD) increases vs. the same period in 2012 include sheets and strip galvanized hot dipped (up 24%), line pipe (up 20%) and wire drawn (up 17%).
In February, the largest finished steel import permit applications for offshore countries were for South Korea (296,000 tons, down 15% from January), Turkey (144,000 tons up 9%), Japan (134,000 tons, down 3%), China (119,000 tons, down 28%) and Germany (100,000 tons, up 36%). Through the first two months of 2013, the largest offshore suppliers were South Korea (645,000 tons, down 1% from the same period in 2012), China (284,000 tons, up 50%) and Turkey (276,000 tons, down 21%).