AISI Releases December SIMA Imports Data

January 6, 2021

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 2,071,000 net tons (NT)*.  This was a 48.1% increase from the 1,399,000 permit tons recorded in November and a 51.2% increase from the November preliminary imports total of 1,370,000.  Import permit tonnage for finished steel in December was 1,326,000, up 12.2% from the preliminary imports total of 1,181,000 in November.  For the full year 2020 (including December SIMA permits and November preliminary imports), total and finished steel imports were 22,597,000 NT and 16,125,000 NT, down 19.1% and 23.4%, respectively, from 2019.  The estimated finished steel import market share in December was 18% and is 18% for full year 2020.

Finished steel imports with large increases in December permits vs. the November preliminary imports include line pipe (up 219%), electrical sheets and strip (up 193%), oil country goods (up 158%), tin free steel (up 103%), plates in coils (up 40%), hot rolled sheets (up 33%), sheets and strip all other metallic coatings (19%), and hot rolled bars (up 17%).  Products with significant increases for full year 2020 vs. 2019 include tin free steel (up 25%) and light shapes bars (up 21%).

In December, the largest finished steel import permit applications for offshore countries were for South Korea (240,000 NT, up 88% vs. November preliminary), Germany (70,000 NT, up 5%), Japan (59,000 NT, up 28%), The Netherlands (52,000 NT, up 2%) and Brazil (49,000 NT, up 168%).  For full year 2020, the largest offshore suppliers were South Korea (2,033,000 NT, down 21% from 2019), Japan (770,000 NT, down 38%) and Germany (729,000 NT, down 30%).

*Note that import permits data are counts of tonnages requested in applications for licenses to import steel mill products and are not actual import volumes. For a number of reasons, permit tonnages may understate or overstate actual import volumes for the month, preliminary estimates of which will be available later this month.  


AISI serves as the voice of the 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’s membership is comprised of integrated and electric arc furnace steelmakers, and associate members who are suppliers to or customers of the steel industry. For more news about steel and its applications, view AISI’s website at Follow AISI on Facebook or Twitter (@AISISteel).