Steel import permit applications for the month of April totalled 3.4Mt (net tons), down 2% from 3.5Mt (net tons) recorded in March but a 1.1% increase from the March preliminary imports total of 3.3Mt (net tons), according to Steel Import Monitoring and Analysis (SIMA) data released by the US Department of Commerce.

Over the first four months of 2017, including April SIMA data and March preliminary data, total and finished steel imports were 12.3Mt and 9.5Mt, up 23.6% and 13.2% respectively when compared with last year’s figures for the same period.

The estimated finished steel import market share in April was 28% and is 26% year-to-date (YTD).

Comparing April permits with March preliminary figures, specific finished imports of steel piling were up 100%, oil country goods up 31%, steel and strip all other metallic coatings up 29% and mechanical tubing up 27%. Sheets and strip hot-dipped galvanised was up 21%, hot rolled bar up 19%, heavy structural shapes up 18% and plates in coils up 11%.

Products with significant YTD increases versus the same period last year include oil country goods (up 210%); sheets and strip all other metallic coated (up 43%); cold-rolled sheet (up 42%); mechanical tubing (up 32%); tin plate (up 31%); standard pipe (up 30%); sheets and strip hot-dipped galvanised (up 26%); rebar (up 18%); and line pipe (up 12%).

Looking at big finished steel exporters to the USA in April, South Korea shipped 338kt, up 7% from March preliminary data; Turkey exported 284kt, down 5%; Japan, 126kt, down 7%; and Taiwan 123kt, up 36%. Germany exported 117kt, up 27%.

Over the first four months of 2017 South Korea was the largest offshore supplier (1.2Mt, down 1%) followed by Turkey (1Mt, up 27%) and Japan (506kt, down 14%).