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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 total 3,485,000 net tons (NT).

This was a 7 percent increase from the 3,260,000 permit tons recorded in February and 7 percent increase from the February preliminary imports total of 3,250,000 NT.

Import permit tonnage for finished steel in March was 2,484,000, up 11 percent from the preliminary imports total of 2,240,000 in February. For the first three months of 2014 (including March SIMA and February preliminary), total and finished steel imports were 9,940,000 NT and 7,166,000 NT, respectively, up 29 percent and 18 percent from the same period in 2013. The estimated finished steel import market share in March was 25 percent and is 25 percent year-to-date (YTD).

Finished steel imports with large increases in March permits vs. the February preliminary included reinforcing bars (up 104 percent), sheets and strip all other metallic coatings (up 71 percent), wire rods (up 46 percent), heavy structural shapes (up 33 percent), cut lengths plates (up 21 percent), cold rolled sheets (up 19 percent), hot rolled bars (up 17 percent) and line pipe (up 14 percent). Products with significant year-to-date (YTD) increases vs. the same period in 2013 include wire rods (up 97 percent), plates in coils (up 82 percent), sheets and strip all other metallic coatings (up 48 percent), hot rolled sheets (up 42 percent), reinforcing bars (up 37 percent), cold rolled sheets (up 30 percent), mechanical tubing (up 29 percent), sheets and strip galvanized hot dipped (up 28 percent), cut lengths plates (up 21 percent) and oil country goods (up 17 percent).

In March, the largest finished steel import permit applications for offshore countries were for South Korea (364,000 NT, down 3 percent from February preliminary), China (229,000 NT up 30 percent), Turkey (197,000 NT, up 98 percent), Japan (184,000 NT, up 21 percent) and Russia (116,000 NT, up 15 percent). Through the first three months of 2014, the largest offshore suppliers were South Korea (1,172,000 NT, up 22 percent from the same period in 2013) and China (596,000 NT, up 33 percent).

Published in the May 2014 Edition of American Recycler News