Steel Imports Drop 9 Percent

China top foreign supplier of finished steel

Washington, D.C., April 2, 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 March totaled 1,416,000 net tons (NT).  This was a 15 percent decrease from the 1,661,000 permit tons recorded in February 2009, and a 9 percent decrease from the February preliminary imports total of 1,553,000 NT.  Import permit tonnage for finished steel in March was 1,353,000 NT, a decrease of 6 percent from the preliminary imports total of 1,443,000 NT in February.   March 2009 total and finished steel import permit tons would annualize at 21,348,000 NT and 19,812,000 NT, down 33 and 24 percent, respectively, from the 31,927,000 NT and 25,956,000 NT imported in 2008.
In March 2009, the largest finished steel import permit applications for offshore countries were for China (155,000 NT), South Korea (126,000 NT), Japan (113,000 NT), India (93,000 NT) and Turkey (77,000 NT).   Cumulative tonnage from the top three offshore suppliers (China, South Korea and Japan) accounted for 31% of all finished imports in March, which was equal to the amount from NAFTA countries (32%).  Finished steel import market share in March is estimated at close to 30%, remaining at an elevated level in comparison to recent annual import totals.

Major finished steel import products that registered large increases in March vs. the February preliminary include Reinforcing Bar (up 176%), Mechanical Tubing (up 32%), Line Pipe (up 32%) and Standard Rails (up 22%) .

“In the midst of a severe global recession, the underlying foreign government policies and practices that have severely disrupted world steel markets continue unchanged.  Especially at this time of economic crisis, it is critical that we remain vigilant against any unfair trade surges in the U.S. market,” Thomas J. Gibson, president and CEO of the American Iron and Steel Institute, said, commenting on the March 2009 import data.

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