Based on the US Commerce Department's most recent Steel Import Monitoring and Analysis (SIMA) data, the American Iron and Steel Institute reports that steel import permit applications for the month of March 2018 totalled 3.4 Mt (net tons). This was an increase of 41.6% when compared with the February figure of 2.4 Mt (permit tons) and an increase of 47.3% compared with February's preliminary imports of 2.3 Mt (net tons).

Finished steel imports with large increases in March permits versus compared with preliminary data from February include: rebar (up 338%); standard rails (up 107%); plates in coils (up 56%); standard pipe (up 45%); oil country goods (up 42%); cold rolled sheets (up 41%); mechanical tubing (up 39%); sheets and strip galvanised hot dipped (up 35%); hot rolled sheets (up 33%); structural pipe and tubing (up 26%); and line pipe (up 11%).

Import permit tonnage for finished steel in March was 2.5Mt (net tons), up 32.1% from the preliminary imports total of 1.9Mt in February. For the first three months of 2018 (including March SIMA permits and February preliminary data) total and finished steel imports were 8.72Mt (net tons) and 6.7Mt (net tons), down 2.6% and 2.2% from the same period in 2017.

The estimated finished steel import market share in March was 26% and is 25% YTD.

According to the AISI, the largest finished steel import permit applications came from South Korea (up 31%); Turkey (up 233%); Japan (up 67%); Russia (up 135%); and Taiwan (up 18%). Through the first three months of 2018 South Korea topped the chart.