US steel import applications down 3.7%

Steel import permit applications for the month of June reached 2.89Mt (net tons), down 3.7% from the May figure of 3.005Mt (net tons) and a 0.3% increase from the May preliminary imports total of 2.887Mt (net tons), according to figures released by the US Commerce Department based on Steel Import Monitoring and Analysis (SIMA) data.

Import permit tonnage for finished steel in June was 1.946Mt (all figures are net tons) down 19.5% from the preliminary imports total of 2.418Mt recorded in May.

For the first six months of 2018 (including June SIMA permits and May preliminary data) total and finished steel imports were 18.23Mt and 14.07 Mt respectively, down 7.4% and 6.6% from the same period in 2017. The estimated finished steel import market share in June was 22% and is 25% year-to-date.

Finished steel imports with large increases in June permits compared with May preliminary included black plate (up 540%), and sheets, strips and all other metallic coatings (up 24%). Products with significant year-to-date increases versus the same period in 2017 include hot rolled sheets (up 25%), plates in coils (up 23%), line pipe (up 13%) and mechanical tubing (up 12%).

The largest finished steel import permit applications for offshore countries (in June) were: South Korea (206kt, up 88%); Japan (134kt, up 11%); Germany (105kt, down 25%); Taiwan (103kt, up 32%); and Vietnam (88kt, up 18%.

Over the first six months of 2018 (January to May) the largest offshore suppliers were: South Korea (1.73Mt, down 10% on 2017 figures); Japan (745kt, down 7%); and Germany (654kt, up 9%).

• In May, US steel mills shipped 8.05Mt, up 3.3% on the April figure of 7.79Mt and a 5% increase on last May’s figure of 7.66Mt.