Steel import permits up 4 percent, May import market share at 21 percent

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 May totaled 2,148,000 net tons (NT).  This was a 4 percent increase from the 2,060,000 permit tons recorded in April and a 4-percent increase from the April preliminary imports total of 2,072,000 NT.    

Import permit tonnage for finished steel in May was 1,685,000 NT. This was a 1 percent increase from the preliminary imports total of 1,672,000 NT in April. May total and finished steel import permit tons would annualize at 22,847,000 NT and 18,039,000 NT, up 41 percent and 27 percent, respectively, from the 16,215,000 NT and 14,179,000 NT imported in 2009. 

In May, the largest finished steel import permit applications for offshore countries were for Korea (182,000 NT, down 7 percent from April), Japan (121,000 NT, up 33 percent), Germany (94,000 NT, up 9 percent), India (92,000 NT, up 130 percent) and Turkey (63,000 NT, down 27 percent).  Finished steel import market share in May is estimated at 21 percent.

Finished steel import permits for major product categories that registered significant increases in May vs. the April preliminary include standard rail (up 315 percent), mechanical tubing (up 25 percent), oil country goods (up 25 percent), plate in coils (up 23 percent) and hot rolled sheets (up 12 percent).

In commenting on the May SIMA data, Thomas J. Gibson, AISI president and CEO, said in a press statement: “The trend of rising steel import market share is clearly continuing, and it is occurring at a time when domestic steel industry capacity utilization is currently only around 73 percent.  This requires close and ongoing monitoring to ensure that no dumped and subsidized imports are entering the U.S. marketplace. “