Finished Steel Imports Up 29 Percent Through Two Months; While February Permit Tons Drop Slightly, Import Market Share Rises to 23 Percent

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For Immediate Release:
March 7, 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 through 2 months of 2012, finished steel imports were 4.1 million net tons (NT), up 29% vs. the 3.1 million NT in the same period last year.  Total steel import permit applications for the month of February were 2,549,000 (NT)., down 10% from the 2,826,000 permit tons recorded in January, but were up 0.1% from the January preliminary imports total of 2,546,000 NT.  Import permit tonnage for finished steel in February was 1,991,000 NT, down 3% from the preliminary imports total of 2,060,000 NT in January.   February 2012 total and finished steel import permit tons would annualize at 30,574,000 NT and 24,306,000 NT, up 7% and 11%, respectively, vs. the 28,515,000 NT and 21,835,000 NT imported in 2011.  The estimated finished steel import market share in February was 23%.

In February, the largest finished steel import permit applications for offshore countries were for Korea (276,000 NT, down 12% from January), Japan (157,000 NT, up 23%), Turkey (145,000 NT, up 2%), China (80,000 NT, down 20%) and Germany (67,000 NT, down 38%).  

Year-to-date (YTD), several key products are experiencing elevated import levels vs. their 2011 annual average.  Significant 2012 YTD increases include reinforcing bar (up 90% vs. 2011 monthly average), bar size light shapes (up 84%), sheets and strip all other metallic coated (up 35%) and hot dipped galvanized sheets and strip (up 18%).  Finished steel import permits for products that registered large increases in February vs. the January preliminary include wire rods (up 92%), sheets and strip galvanized hot dipped (up 46%), plates in coils (up 43%) and hot rolled sheets (up 9%).
 
In commenting on the February 2012 SIMA data, Thomas J. Gibson, AISI president and CEO, stated that, “The most striking thing about the 2012 import data through two months is that finished steel imports are running a full million tons ahead of where they were through the first two months of last year.  There are some significant volume increases in imports of a number of key long and flat products -- most noticeably, in rebar, bar size light shapes and hot dipped galvanized sheets and strip.  Such sudden and dramatic increases in imports will have adverse effects on U.S. producers.”

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.

Contant Nancy Gravatt
202.452.7115 / ngravatt@steel.org

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