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 3,434,218 net tons (NT) of steel in May 2017, which includes 2,284,726 net tons (NT) of finished steel. The total and finished steel imports were up marginally by 2.5% and 1.8% respectively, when compared with the April final data. The cumulative imports of total and finished steel during the initial five-month period of the year were up significantly by 22.2% and 14.2% respectively, when compared with the corresponding five-month period in 2016. The estimated market share of finished steel stood at 27% in May 2017.
Key finished steel products with a significant increase in import volumes during May ’17, when compared to April this year are cut lengths plates (up 46%), tin plates (up 45%), plates in coils (up 33%), line pipe (up 29%), standard pipe (up 19%), hot rolled bars (up 15%) and reinforcing bars (up 12%).
The preliminary imports of Cut Lengths Plates totaled 80,581 NT in May, significantly higher by 45.6% when compared with the final imports of 55,343 NT in April. The imports of Tin Plates totaled 87,490 NT in May, considerably higher by 45.2% when matched with 60,245 NT in April. The other product category that witnessed considerable jump in import volume was Plates in Coils. The imports were up by 32.8% month-on-month from 100,131 NT in April ’17 to 132,991 NT in May this year.
On the other hand, the imports of Heavy Structural Shapes witnessed sharp decline over the month in May 2017. The imports dropped by 28.8% from 98,512 NT during the prior month to 70,112 NT in May. Another product category to witness significant decline in import volumes was Oil Country Goods. The imports totaled 258,833 NT in May this year, down by 26.2% month-on-month. The imports of Oil Country Goods had totaled 350,713 NT during the prior month. Also, the imports of Sheets & Strips All Other Metallic Coating witnessed month-on-month decline of 10.7% from 107,317 NT to 95,799 NT.
The Year-To-Date (YTD) total steel imports surged higher by 22.2% from 12.885 million NT to 15.740 million NT. The finished steel imports jumped higher by 14.2% year-on-year from 10.555 million NT in Jan-May ’16 to 12.050 million NT during the corresponding five-month period in 2017. The products which reported significant increase in imports were Oil Country Goods (up 227.4%), Cold Rolled Sheets (up 38.2%) and Sheets & Strips All Other Metallic Coating (up 36.2%). Meantime, Cut Lengths Plates (down 47.1%) and Hot Rolled Sheets (down 37.5%) reported considerable decline in import volumes during Jan-May ’17.
In May, the largest exporters of finished steel to the US were South Korea (329,000 NT, up 3% from April final), Turkey (154,000 NT, down 17%), Germany (142,000 NT, up 26%), Japan (127,000 NT, down 11%) and India (86,000 NT, up 84%).
According to AISI estimates, the finished steel imports for the whole year 2017 from various offshore countries are likely to be as follows:- South Korea (3,695,000 NT, down 3.1% vs 2016), Turkey (2,740,000 NT, up 13.4%), Japan (1,561,000 NT, down 13.2%), Taiwan (1,192,000 NT, up 10.0%) and Vietnam (852,000 NT, down 11.3%) .
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.