US steel import permit applications for March up 5%, says AISI

The American Iron and Steel Institute (AISI) reported today that Steel import permit applications for March 2019 totaled 2.67Mt (net tons) up 5% from the 2.54Mt recorded in February. The figures are based on Steel Import Monitoring and Analysis (SIMA) data. According to the AISI, import permit tonnage for finished steel in March was 1.82Mt, up 3.6% from the SIMA permits total of 1,76Mt in February.  For the first three months of 2019 (including March and February SIMA), total and finished steel imports were 8.7Mt (net tons) and 6Mt (net tons) respectively, up 0.1% and down 11.7% from the same period in 2018. The estimated finished steel import market share in March was 19% and is 21% year-to-date (YTD).

Finished steel imports with large increases in March permits versus February permits included black plate (up 187%), reinforcing bars (up 154%), heavy structural shapes (up 118%), steel piling (up 117%), structural pipe and tubing (up 29%), cold rolled sheets (up 18%), hot rolled bars (up 16%), sheets and strip all other metallic coatings (up 13%), and plates in coils (up 13%). Products with significant YTD increases versus the same period last year include black plate (up 60%), line pipe (up 41%), steel piling (up 30%) and tin-free steel (up 19%).

In March, the largest finished steel import permit applications for offshore countries were for South Korea (185kt net tons, down 7% from February permits), Japan (113kt net tons, down 13%), Germany (103kt net tons, up 25%), Taiwan (103kt net tons, up 49%) and Vietnam (81kt net tons, up 42%). Through the first three months of 2019, the largest offshore suppliers were South Korea (746kt net tons, down 21% from the same period last year), Japan (349kt net tons, down 11%) and Germany (320kt net tons, up 11%).