Finished Steel Import Permit Tons Up 16 Percent in 2011 vs. 2010, Import Market Share at 22 Percent

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For Immediate Release

January 5, 2012

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 December 2011 totaled 2,208,000 net tons (NT).  This was a 9% increase from the 2,027,000 permit tons recorded in November 2011 and a 5% increase from the November preliminary imports total of 2,107,000 NT.  Import permit tonnage for finished steel in December was 1,618,000 NT, down 2% from the preliminary imports total of 1,646,000 NT in November.  Full-year 2011 total and finished steel import permit tons were 28,646,000 NT and 21,871,000 NT, up 20% and 16%, respectively, vs. the 23,929,000 NT and 18,857,000 NT imported in 2010.  The estimated finished steel import market share in 2011 was 22%, and was 19% in December.

In December, the largest finished steel import permit applications for offshore countries were for Korea (222,000 NT, up 15% from November), Japan (130,000 NT, up 13%), Turkey (100,000 NT, up 319%), China (100,000 NT, up 21%) and Germany (76,000 NT, up 19%).  For full-year 2011, the largest offshore suppliers were South Korea (2, 856,000 NT, up 40%), Japan (1, 479,000 NT, up 12%), China (1,244,000 NT, up 45%), Germany (943,000 NT, up 7%) and Turkey (750,000 NT, up 29%).   

Finished steel import permits for products that registered large increases in December vs. the November preliminary include reinforcing bar (up 101%), sheet and strip all other metallic coated (up 45%), wire rods (up 38%) and mechanical tubing (up 16%).  For full-year 2011, products that saw significant increases vs. 2010 include cut length plate (up 55%),  mechanical tubing (up 44%), plates in coils (up 34%), line pipe (up 33%), sheet and strip, all other metallic coated (up 32%), reinforcing bar (up 27%), hot rolled bars (up 26%) and oil country goods (up 23%).   

"While domestic steel production and utilization both increased in 2011 -- and while December SIMA finished steel import tons were the lowest since February of that year -- 2011 can best be characterized as a year of slow and fragile recovery,” Thomas J. Gibson, AISI president and CEO said, in
commenting on the December and full-year 2011 SIMA data.   “Domestic capacity utilization averaged only around 75% in 2011, while finished steel import market share rose to 22%, and finished steel import tonnage increased by more than 3 million tons, or roughly 16%, vs. the prior year.   Year-over-year import increases of 30-50 percent in plate and certain other products, combined with continued increases in imports from China and other Asian countries, remain a cause of concern.  Looking ahead to 2012, continued improvements in domestic steel market conditions will again depend on ensuring that U.S. producers are not further injured by surges of dumped and subsidized imports."

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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 member companies, including integrated and electric furnace steelmakers, and 120 associate and the development and application of new steels and steelmaking technology.  AISI is comprised of 25 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
202.452.7115
ngravatt@steel.org