Steel Imports Drop 15 Percent

But unfair trade remains key concern, and import market share still high in view of market conditions

Washington, D.C., June 3, 2009 -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 1,015,000 net tons (NT).  This was a 15% decrease from the 1,187,000 permit tons recorded in April 2009 and a 16% decrease from the April preliminary imports total of 1,214,000 NT.  Import permit tonnage for finished steel in May was 999,000 NT, a decrease of 10% from the preliminary imports total of 1,107,000 NT in April and the lowest such monthly import figure since February 1993.   May 2009 total and finished steel import permit tons would annualize at 18,543,000 NT and 17,310,000 NT, down 42% and 33%, respectively, from the 31,927,000 NT and 25,956,000 NT imported in 2008.

In May 2009, the largest finished steel import permit applications for offshore countries were for China (153,000 NT, up 56% from April), South Korea (120,000 NT, up 70%), Japan (73,000 NT, down 13%), Taiwan (34,000 NT, no change) and India (27,000 NT, down 66%).   Finished steel import market share in May is estimated at 21%.

Finished steel import products that registered increases in May vs. the April preliminary include Reinforcing Bar (up 54%), Oil Country Goods (up 37%) and Plates in Coils (up 19%).  Year-to-date, imports of Oil Country Tubular Goods (OCTG) remain significantly higher (up 31%).
In commenting on the May data, Thomas J. Gibson, president and CEO of AISI, said, “Our key concern remains unfairly traded imports, especially at this time of severely depressed U.S. steel industry and market conditions.  It is also important to note that, while import tonnage overall has declined, import market share is staying at high levels even at a time when our domestic steel industry is operating at only 46 percent of capability and there are widespread layoffs.”

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 the development and application of new steels and steelmaking technology.  AISI is comprised of 24 member companies, including integrated and electric furnace steelmakers, and 138 associate and affiliate members who are suppliers to or customers of the steel industry.  AISI's member companies represent approximately 75 percent of both U.S. and North American steel capacity.  For more news about steel and its applications, view AISI’s Web site at www.steel.org.

Contact:
Nancy Gravatt
Vice President, Communications
American Iron and Steel Institute
Tel: 202.452.7115