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 3,396,439 net tons (NT) of steel in March 2017. This includes 2,516,946 net tons (NT) of finished steel. The total steel and finished steel imports were significantly up by 24.8% and 21.0% respectively, vs. February final data.
Year-to-date total and finished steel imports are 8,932,566 and 6,927,093 net tons (NT), up 18.7% and 7.8% respectively, vs. the same period in 2016. Finished steel import market share was estimated at 26% in March and at 25% during the initial three-month period of the current year.
Key finished steel products with a significant import increase in March this year when compared to February are heavy structural shapes (up 83%), hot rolled sheets (up 53%), reinforcing bars(up 49%), plates in coils(up 31%), oil country goods (up 31%), hot rolled bars(up 29%), wire rods(up 24%), cut lengths plates (up 23%), wire drawn (up 23%) and tin plate(up 22%).
The preliminary imports of Heavy Structural Shapes totaled 78,867 NT in March, significantly higher by 83.1% when compared with the final imports of 43,083 NT in February. Hot Rolled Sheets imports totaled 171,815 NT in March, higher by 52.5% when matched with 112,635 NT in February. The other product category that witnessed considerable jump in import volume was Reinforcing Bars. The imports were up by 49.4% month-on-month from 163,646 NT in February to 244,413 NT in March this year. On the other hand, the imports of Cold Rolled Sheets witnessed decline over the month in March 2017. The imports dropped by 4.8% from 244,477 NT in February to 232,826 NT in March.
The key finished steel imports during the three-month period from January to March this year were Ingots, Billets and Slabs (1,995,652 NT), Sheets and Strip-Hot Dipped Galvanized (836,308 NT), Cold Rolled Sheets (732,903 NT), Oil Country Goods (650,360 NT) and Reinforcing Bars (630,027 NT).
In March, the largest exporters of finished steel to the US were South Korea (317,000 NT, up 22% from February final), Turkey (298,000 NT, up 52%), Japan (135,000 NT, up 35%), Germany (93,000 NT, up 77%) and Taiwan (90,000 NT, down 12%)
For first three months of 2017, the largest overseas suppliers of finished steel to the US were South Korea (889,000 NT, down 1% vs. the same period in 2016), Turkey (801,000 NT, up 10%), Japan (380,000 NT, down 16%), Taiwan (304,000 NT, up 94%) and Vietnam (249,000 NT, up 32%).
The estimated annualized finished steel imports for the whole year 2017 from various offshore countries are as follows:- South Korea (3,557,000 NT, down 6.7% vs 2016), Turkey (3,204,000 NT, up 32.6%), Japan (1,798,000 NT, down 15.4%), Germany (1,192,000 NT, down 23.9%) and Taiwan (1,083,000 NT, up 12.3%).
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.