Based on the Commerce Department’s most recent Steel Import Monitoring and Analysis (SIMA) data, the American Iron and Steel Institute (AISI) reported today that through 2 months of 2012, finished steel imports were 4.1 million net tons (NT), up 29 percent vs. the 3.1 million NT in the same period last year. Total steel import permit applications for the month of February were 2,549,000 NT., down 10 percent from the 2,826,000 permit tons recorded in January, but were up 0.1 percent from the January preliminary imports total of 2,546,000 NT. Import permit tonnage for finished steel in February was 1,991,000 NT, down 3 percent from the preliminary imports total of 2,060,000 NT in January. February 2012 total and finished steel import permit tons would annualize at 30,574,000 NT and 24,306,000 NT, up 7 percent and 11 percent, respectively, vs. the 28,515,000 NT and 21,835,000 NT imported in 2011. The estimated finished steel import market share in February was 23 percent.
Year-to-date (YTD), several key products are experiencing elevated import levels vs. their 2011 annual average. Significant 2012 YTD increases include reinforcing bar (up 90 percent vs. 2011 monthly average), bar size light shapes (up 84 percent), sheets and strip all other metallic coated (up 35 percent) and hot dipped galvanized sheets and strip (up 18 percent). Finished steel import permits for products that registered large increases in February vs. the January preliminary include wire rods (up 92 percent), sheets and strip galvanized hot dipped (up 46 percent), plates in coils (up 43 percent) and hot rolled sheets (up 9 percent).