Finished Steel Import Permit Tons Up 33 Percent in 2010 Vs. 2009; Import Market Share at 21 Percent In 2010 in Context of Significant Unused Domestic Steel Capacity

Washington, D.C., 1/5/2011 - 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 December totaled 1,814,000 net tons (NT).  This was a 0.4% decrease from the 1,808,000 permit tons recorded in November and a 2% increase from the November preliminary imports total of 1,784,000 NT.    Import permit tonnage for finished steel in December was 1,445,000 NT, down 3% from the preliminary imports total of 1,495,000 NT in November.  Total and finished steel import permit tons for full-year 2010 were 23,870,000 NT and 18,795,000 NT, up 47% and 33%, respectively, from the 16,215,000 NT and 14,179,000 NT imported in the Great Recession year of 2009.

In December, the largest finished steel import permit applications for offshore countries were for Korea (168,000 NT, up 10% from November), Japan (96,000 NT, down 7%), Germany (65,000 NT, down 5%), China (61,000 NT, down 13%) and Australia (47,000 NT, down 20%).     Finished steel import market shares for December and for 2010 as a whole were 19% and 21%, respectively.

Finished steel import permits for major products that registered significant increases in December vs. the November preliminary include cut-length plate (up 32%), hot-rolled bar (up 31%), line pipe (up 27%) and reinforcing bar (up 14%).  For full-year 2010 vs. 2009, there were significant increases in import permit for oil country goods (up 49%), hot-rolled sheets (up 37%) and hot-dipped galvanized sheet and strip (up 36%).

In commenting on the December and full-year 2010 SIMA data, Thomas J. Gibson, AISI president and CEO, stated that, “Notwithstanding a small improvement in December domestic steel production and declining finished steel imports over the last four months, domestic steel capacity utilization in the United States ended the year at only 70 percent, while steel imports in full-year 2010 maintained a 21 percent share of the U.S. market.  Looking ahead to 2011, continued improvements in domestic steel market conditions will depend in no small measure on ensuring that U.S. producers are not further injured by surges of dumped and subsidized imports.”                                                                     

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 140 associate and affiliate members who are suppliers to or customers of the steel industry.  AISI's member companies represent approximately 80 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