Steel Import Permits Up 24 Percent in March, Import Market Share Rises to 22 Percent

Rolled steel

Washington, D.C. - 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 2,378,000 net tons (NT).  This was a 24% increase from the 1,914,000 permit tons recorded in February and a 34% increase from the February preliminary imports total of 1,777,000 NT.    Import permit tonnage for finished steel in March was 1,812,000 NT, up 32% from the preliminary imports total of 1,371,000 NT in February.  While February was a 28-day month compared to 31 days for March, the March total for SIMA finished steel permits was the highest monthly amount in over 2 years.   On a quarterly basis, finished steel imports in the first quarter of 2011 were 7% higher than in the fourth quarter of 2010.  March 2011 total and finished steel import permit tons would annualize at 25,087,000 NT and 19,536,000 NT, up 5% and 4%, respectively, from the 23,929,000 NT and 18,857,000 NT imported in 2010.  The estimated finished steel import market share in March rose to 22%.

In March, the largest finished steel import permit applications for offshore countries were for Korea (235,000 NT, up 29% from February), Japan (113,000 NT, down 8%), Germany (92,000 NT, up 42%), Turkey (73,000 NT, up 5%) and China (70,000 NT, up 45%).

Finished steel import permits for major products that registered large increases in March vs. the February preliminary include heavy structural shapes (up 143%), cold rolled sheets (up 59%), hot dipped galvanized sheet and strip (up 47%), oil country goods (up 43%), hot rolled bars (up 33%) and hot rolled sheets (up 28%).

In commenting on the March 2011 SIMA data, Thomas J. Gibson, AISI president and CEO, stated that, "Finished steel imports increased significantly in March, and they outpaced the continued gains in domestic steel production. As a result, the estimated steel import market share in March rose to its highest level since October 2010. In an environment of a still fragile recovery, in which domestic steel producers are operating at less than 75% of capacity utilization, strong trade law enforcement remains critical."

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 25 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