Total Steel Import Permits Decline Slightly, but Sheets Register Significant Increase

Import market share estimated at 24% year-to-date

Washington, D.C., September 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 August totaled 952,000 net tons (NT).  This was a 3% decrease from the 978,000 permit tons recorded in July 2009 and a 3% decrease from the July preliminary imports total of 985,000 NT.    

Import permit tonnage for finished steel in August was 801,000 NT, a decrease of 9% from the preliminary imports total of 884,000 NT in July.  The finished import permits for August are lower than any prior 2009 finished import monthly totals.   August 2009 total and finished steel import permit tons would annualize at 15,841,000 NT and 14,613,000 NT, down 50% and 44%, respectively, from the 31,927,000 NT and 25,956,000 NT imported in 2008.

In August 2009, the largest finished steel import permit applications for offshore countries were for Korea (84,000 NT, up 14% from July), Japan (38,000 NT, down 56%), Brazil (37,000 NT, up 365%) and China (32,000 NT, up 9%).   Finished steel import market share in August is estimated at 15% and at 24% year-to-date (YTD).

Finished steel import permits for products that registered increases in August vs. the July preliminary include wire rods (114%), hot rolled sheets (55%) and cold rolled sheets (40%). In Addition due to the aforementioned hot and cold rolled sheet gains, total sheet product permits increased 24% vs. the July preliminary figures.
In commenting on the August data, Thomas J. Gibson, president and CEO of the American Iron and Steel Institute, noted that , “Steel import aggregate totals remain relatively low.   But imports year-to-date are still taking nearly a fourth of the U.S. market.  Domestic steel mils are operating at only 55% of capacity.  We are just now seeing the first tentative signs of U.S. manufacturing growth in the last year-and-a-half.  It is therefore critical that dumped and subsidized imports not be allowed to undermine what is likely to be a very fragile economic recovery.”

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