Total Steel Import Permits Increase 20 Percent

Finished Steel Import Permits Increase 27 Percent -- Import Market Share Rises To 20 Percent

Washington, D.C., 4/7/2010 - 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 1,971 ,000 net tons (NT).  This was a 20% increase from the 1,644,000 permit tons recorded in February and a 25% increase from the February preliminary imports total of 1,574,000 NT.     Import permit tonnage for finished steel in March was 1,627,000 NT, a 27% increase from the 1,278,000 permit tons recorded in February and a 34% increase from the February preliminary imports total of 1,214,000 NT.  The gains in apparent steel demand and domestic production (March vs. February) were 14% and 10%, respectively.  Finished steel import market share in March is estimated at 20% (vs. less than 15% in August of last year).

March total and finished steel import permit tons would annualize at 20,826,000 NT and 16,504,000 NT, up 28% and 16%, respectively, from the 16,215,000 NT and 14,179,000 NT imported in 2009.

In commenting on the March SIMA data, Thomas J. Gibson, AISI president and CEO, said, “Over the past two quarters, domestic steel capacity utilization has been on the rise, but only to a level slightly above 70 percent.  At the same time, steel imports and import market share have been rising at a faster rate.  America’s economy, manufacturing base and steel market are only now at the beginning stages of a slow and fragile recovery.  Our focus must remain on ensuring that this recovery is not undermined by foreign dumping, subsidies, currency manipulation and other unfair trade practices.”

In March, the largest finished steel import permit applications for offshore countries were for Korea (142,000 NT, up 45% from February), Japan (133,000 NT, up 20%), Germany (119,000 NT, up 347%), China (63,000 NT, up 39%) and Australia (57,000 NT, up 18%).   

Finished steel import permits for major product categories that registered significant increases in March vs. the February preliminary include cut length plates (up 151%), standard rails (up 114%), heavy structural shapes (up 114%), oil country goods (up 88%), plates in coils (up 57%), sheets and strip hot dipped galvanized (up 50%), tin plate (up 42%), hot rolled bars (up 38%) and line pipe (up 27%).

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