August SIMA Import Permits Record Significant Increases in Several Key Products; AISI remains concerned about YTD 24% finished steel import market share

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For Immediate Relase
September 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 August totaled 2,591,000 net tons (NT).  This was an 8% decrease from the 2,824,000 permit tons recorded in July, but only a 0.3% increase from the July preliminary imports total of 2,582,000 NT.  Import permit tonnage for finished steel in August was 2,004,000 NT, down 1% from the preliminary imports total of 2,028,000 NT in July.  August 2012 total and finished steel import permit tons would annualize at 34,207,000 NT and 26,456,000 NT, up 20% and 21%, respectively, vs. the 28,515,000 NT and 21,835,000 NT imported in 2011.  The estimated finished steel import market share in August was 22%, and it is 24% through 8 months of 2012.

Finished steel imports with large increases in August permits vs. the July preliminary include heavy structural shapes (up 66%), reinforcing bars (up 64%), cut lengths plates (up 28%), tin plate (up 27%), hot rolled bars (up 22%) and cold rolled sheets (up 18%).   Major products with significant year-to-date (YTD) increases vs. the same period in 2011 include reinforcing bars (up 49%), line pipe (up 42%), cut lengths plates (up 38%), oil country goods (up 33%), sheets & strip galvanized hot dipped (up 31%), sheets and strip all other metallic coatings (up 29%) and hot rolled bars (up 17%).

“While U.S. mills are operating at only a 75% utilization rate, offshore producers are sending cheap, subsidized finished steel imports into our market, which year-to-date, represent 24% market share,” AISI President and CEO Thomas J. Gibson said.  “On top of this, a slowdown in Chinese steel demand and global manufacturing activity generally is a cause of great concern here in the U.S. where we have the most open market in the world, as this could result in even larger increases in import tonnage in the months to come.  We urge the U.S. government to be ever vigilant for evidence of foreign unfair trade practices that could result in harm to America’s steel industry.”

In August, the largest finished steel import permit applications for offshore countries were for South Korea (279,000 NT, down 2% from July), China (158,000 NT, up 36%), Japan (138,000 NT, down 18%), Turkey (116,000 NT, up 240%) and Germany (93,000 NT, up 7%).  Through the first 8 months of 2012, the largest offshore suppliers were South Korea (2,450,000 NT, up 22% from the same period in 2011), Japan (1,309,000 NT, up 32%) and China (1,081,000 NT, up 29%).

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 124 associate members who are suppliers to or customers of the steel industry. AISI's member companies represent approximately over three quarters 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

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