Based on the U.S. 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 July totaled 2,627,000 tons. This was an 8% decrease from the 2,855,000 permit tons recorded in June, but a 1% increase from the June preliminary imports total of 2,593,000 tons. Import permit tonnage for finished steel in July was 2,067,000 tons, down 2% from the preliminary imports total of 2,098,000 tons in June. July 2012 total and finished steel import permit tons would annualize at 34,339,000 tons and 26,683,000 tons, up 20% and 22%, respectively, vs. the 28,515,000 tons and 21,835,000 tons imported in 2011. The estimated finished steel import market share in July was 23%, and it is 24% through 7 months of 2012.
Finished steel imports with large increases in July permits vs. the June preliminary include line pipe (up 50%), standard rails (up 43%), hot rolled sheets (up 16%) and cold finished bars (up 14%). Major products with significant year-to-date (YTD) increases vs. the same period in 2011 include reinforcing bars (up 54%), line pipe (up 45%), cut lengths plates (up 40%), oil country goods (up 36%), sheets and strip hot dipped galvanized (up 31%) and sheets and strip all other metallic coatings (up 27%).
In July, the largest finished steel import permit applications for offshore countries were for South Korea (332,000 tons, up 13% from June), Japan (169,000 tons, up 29%), China (119,000 tons, down 32%), Italy (88,000 tons, up 81%) and India (84,000 tons, up 187%). Through the first 7 months of 2012, the largest offshore suppliers were South Korea (2,198,000 tons, up 21% from the same period in 2011), Japan (1,151,000 tons, up 28%) and China (903,000 tons, up 26%).
"Even with the slowing of our economy, we continue to see large import increases in key steel products from certain offshore countries," Thomas J. Gibson, AISI president and CEO, said in commenting on the July 2012 SIMA data. "Given the low domestic steel utilization rate, there are concerns that dumped and subsidized steel imports may be causing additional harm to America’s steel industry."
AISI serves as the voice of the North American steel industry in the public policy arena and advances the case for steel in the marketplace as the preferred material of choice. AISI also plays a lead role in member companies, including integrated and electric furnace steelmakers, and 124 associate and the development and application of new steels and steelmaking technology. AISI is comprised of 25 affiliate members who are suppliers to or customers of the steel industry. AISI’s member companies represent over three quarters of both U.S. and North American steel capacity.