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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 March totaled 3,413,000 net tons (NT).

This was a 23.9 percent increase from the 2,755,000 permit tons recorded in February and a 25.4 percent increase from the February final imports total of 2,722,000 NT.

Import permit tonnage for finished steel in March was 2,479,000, up 19.2 percent from the final imports total of 2,080,000 in February. For the first three months of 2017 (including March SIMA permits and February final data), total and finished steel imports were 8,949,000 NT and 6,889,000 NT, up 18.9 percent and 7.2 percent, respectively, from the same period in 2016. The estimated finished steel import market share in March was 26 percent and is 25 percent year-to-date (YTD).

Finished steel imports with large increases in March permits vs. the February final included heavy structural shapes (up 66 percent), reinforcing bar (up 55 percent), hot rolled sheets (up 43 percent), oil country goods (up 40 percent), wire rods (up 29 percent), hot rolled bars (up 28 percent) and wire drawn (up 22 percent). Products with significant year-to-date (YTD) increases vs. the same period in 2016 include oil country goods (up 151 percent), cold rolled sheets (up 43 percent), sheets and strip all other metallic coated (up 39 percent), standard pipe (up 27 percent), mechanical tubing (up 26 percent), sheets and strip hot dipped galvanized (up 23 percent), line pipe (up 17 percent), reinforcing bars (up 13 percent) and tin plate (up 13 percent).

In March, the largest finished steel import permit applications for offshore countries were for Turkey (301,000 NT, up 53 percent from February final), South Korea (296,000 NT, up 14 percent), Japan (149,000 NT, up 50 percent), Germany (85,000 NT, up 63 percent) and Taiwan (85,000 NT, down 18 percent). Through the first three months of 2017, the largest offshore suppliers were South Korea (868,000 NT, down 3 percent from the same period in 2016), Turkey (805,000 NT, up 10 percent) and Japan (394,000 NT, down 13 percent).

Published in the May 2017 Edition of American Recycler News