Finished Steel Imports Up 11 Percent in April; April Import Market Share Increases to 25 Percent

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For Immediate Release
May 2, 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 April totaled 3,074,000 net tons (NT).  This was a 5% decrease from the 3,248,000 permit tons recorded in March and a 6% increase from the March preliminary imports total of 2,899,000 NT.    Import permit tonnage for finished steel in April was 2,394,000 NT, up 11% from the preliminary imports total of 2,163,000 NT in March.  The 2.4 million permit tons of finished steel imports in April was the highest monthly tonnage figure in over 3 ½ years (since October 2008).  April 2012 total and finished steel import permit tons would annualize at 34,529,000 NT and 26,534,000 NT, up 21% and 22%, respectively, vs. the 28,515,000 NT and 21,835,000 NT imported in 2011.  The estimated finished steel import market share in April rose to 25%, which is the highest level in the last 9 months.

In April, the largest finished steel import permit applications for offshore countries were for South Korea (335,000 NT, up 23% from March), Japan (166,000 NT, down 7%), China (164,000 NT, up 57%), Russia (148,000 NT, up 358%) and Turkey (121,000 NT, down 26%).  For the first 4 months of 2012, the largest offshore suppliers were South Korea (1,260,000 NT, up 32% from the same period in 2011), Japan (653,000 NT, up 35%) and Turkey (634,000 NT, up 133%).
Finished steel import permits for products that registered large increases in April vs. the March preliminary include plates in coils (up 134%), sheets and strip all other metallic coated (up 48%), hot rolled sheets (up 43%), sheets and strip galvanized hot dipped (up 37%) and hot rolled bars (up 26%).  Major products with significant year-to-date (YTD) increases vs. the same period in 2011 include plates in coils (up 66%), cut length plates (up 63%) and reinforcing bar (up 54%).   Notable YTD import increases in products from offshore countries include plate in coils from Russia (111,000 tons, up 1,501%), reinforcing bar from Turkey (195,000 tons, up 135%) and cut length plates from Korea (65,000 tonnage, up 538%).

In commenting on the April 2012 SIMA data, Thomas J. Gibson, AISI president and CEO, stated that, “The significant increase in steel imports and steel import market share in 2012 to levels that are now matching the pre-recession levels is occurring at a time when domestic steel production and capacity utilization remain well below the pre-recession level.  This large increase in steel imports in 2012 is clearly outpacing the moderate gains we have seen in domestic steel demand this year.  Given that rising imports and import market share contribute to lost U.S. jobs, we would strongly encourage our government leaders to elevate discussions regarding steel imports whenever possible in bilateral conversations with foreign leaders, especially when they involve issues of unfair trade.”


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 124 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 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


Contact: Nancy Gravatt
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