By Paul Ploumis
ALBANY (Scrap Monster): Based on preliminary Census Bureau data, the American Iron and Steel Institute (AISI) reported today that the U.S. imported a total of 2,684,647 net tons (NT) of steel in February 2017, including 2,043,255 net tons (NT) of finished steel (down 4.6% and 12.3% respectively, vs. January final data).
Year-to-date total and finished steel imports are 5,498,884 and 4,372,904 net tons (NT), considerably up by 11.7% and 1.1% respectively, vs. the same two-month period in 2016. Finished steel import market share was estimated at 25% in February and also during the initial two-month period of the year.
Key finished steel products with a significant import increase in February this year when compared to January are line pipe (up 51%), wire rods (up 27%), and tin plate (up 17%). On year-to-date (YTD) basis, oil country goods (up 87%), sheets and strip all other metallic coatings (up 60%), cold rolled sheets (up 40%), sheets and strip hot dipped galvanized (up 27%), reinforcing bars (up 21%), standard pipe (up 19%) and tin plates (up 17%) recorded significant increase in imports.
The preliminary imports of Line Pipes totaled 146,786 NT in February, significantly higher by 50.8% when compared with the final imports of 97,313 NT in January. Ingots and Billets and Slabs imports totaled 638,876 NT in February, higher by 33% when matched with 480,259 NT in January. The other product category that witnessed considerable jump in import volume was Wire Rods. The imports were up by 27.4% month-on-month from 107,566 NT in January to 136,988 NT in February this year.
On the other hand, the imports of Plates in Coils witnessed sharp decline over the month in February 2016. The imports dropped by 33.2% from 105,956 NT in January to 70,769 NT in February. Structural Heavy Shapes too witnessed 33.1% decline in import volume over the previous month. The imports totaled 43,060 NT in February this year as compared with the imports of 64,340 NT during the prior month. The imports of sheets and strip all other metallic coatings declined by nearly 29.8% from 118,932 NT to 83,486 NT.
The key finished steel imports during the two-month period from January to February this year were Ingots, Billets and Slabs (1,119,134 NT), Sheets and Strip Galvanized Hot Dipped (569,350 NT) and Cold Rolled Sheets (482,676 NT).
In February, the largest exporters of finished steel to the US were South Korea (260,000 NT, down 17% from January final), Turkey (196,000 NT, down 36%), Taiwan (103,000 NT, down 7%), Japan (100,000 NT, down 32%), and Vietnam (71,000 NT, down 35%).
For first two months of 2017, the largest overseas suppliers of finished steel to the US were South Korea (572,000 NT, down 8% vs same period in 2016), Turkey (503,000 NT, up 11%), Japan (245,000 NT, down 19%), Taiwan (214,000 NT, up 107%) and Vietnam (179,000 NT, up 29%).
The estimated annualized finished steel imports for the whole year 2017 from various offshore countries are as follows:- South Korea (3,431,000 NT, down 10% vs 2016), Turkey (2,416,000 NT, up 25%), Japan (1,798,000 NT, down 18%), Taiwan (1,283,000 NT, up 18.4%) and Vietnam (1,076,000 NT, up 12.1%).
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 19 member companies, including integrated and electric furnace steelmakers, and approximately 125 associate members who are suppliers to or customers of the steel industry.