December SIMA Import Permits Down 11 Percent vs. November Preliminary; 2012 Finished Import Market Share at 24%

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For Immediate Release:
January 3, 2013

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 totaled 2,358,000 net tons (NT).  This was a 10% decrease from the 2,615,000 permit tons recorded in November and down 11% from the November preliminary imports total of 2,659,000 NT.  Import permit tonnage for finished steel in December was 1,629,000 NT, down 18% from the preliminary imports total of 1,988,000 NT in November.  December 2012 total and finished steel import permit tons would annualize at 33,310,000 NT and 25,620,000 NT, up 17% each, respectively, vs. the 28,515,000 NT and 21,835,000 NT imported in 2011.  The estimated finished steel import market share in December was 22%, and it is 24% for full year 2012.

Finished steel imports with large increases in December permits vs. the November preliminary include mechanical tubing (up 27%) and hot rolled sheets (up 16%).   Major products with significant full year increases vs. 2011 include reinforcing bars (up 48%), line pipe (up 39%), sheets and strip galvanized hot dipped (up 36%), oil country goods (up 23%), sheets and strip all other metallic coatings (up 22%) and cut lengths plates (up 18%).

In December, the largest finished steel import permit applications for offshore countries were for South Korea (167,000 NT, down 41% from November), China (158,000 NT, up 9%), Germany (120,000 NT, up 19%), Japan (83,000 NT, down 42%) and The Netherlands (77,000 NT, up 24%).  Through full year 2012, the largest offshore suppliers were South Korea (3,646,000 NT, up 29% from the same period in 2011), Japan (1,926,000 NT, up 30%) and China (1,627,000 NT, up 32%).

"December data indicates that steel imports for the month and year-end totals have continued to trend at significantly high levels—with an estimated finished steel import market share of 24% in 2012," AISI President and CEO Thomas J. Gibson, said.  "We will continue to stress that this significant import trend is largely the result of foreign government subsidies, currency manipulation, trade barriers and dumping.  AISI continues to seek aggressive engagement by the U.S. federal government to address this serious issue.  If the import surge is left unchecked, the industry’s recovery from the recession will be negatively impacted and will result in additional job loss throughout the steel supply chain."

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: Elizabeth Vago
202.452.7126
/ evago@steel.org

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