Flat Rolled Steel Imports Decline in April
Total steel imports (all products) were flat for the month of April 2010 compared to the previous month, according to preliminary Census data released today. Imports totaled 1,880,081 metric tons (2,072,432 short tons) for the month of April compared to the 1,863,740 metric tons (2,054,419 short tons) received during the month of March.
Of the more than 2 million short tons of foreign product received in April almost 19% were semi-finished (slabs and billets). There were 387,068 short tons of slabs or billets which are then rolled into coil or long products here in the United States. This number is consistent with March although semi-finished steel has been growing which means the re-rollers here in the U.S. are busier than earlier this year.
Hot rolled coil imports were 9% lower in April than the previous month. April HR totaled 176,277 metric tons (194,311 short tons). The 5 countries representing the biggest tonnage were: Canada was 88,064 short tons an increase of 4,132 tons from March; Korea shipped in 32,341 short tons which was down 2,317 tons from the prior month (Korea supplies USS/Posco in California); Australia dropped by almost 50% with their 25,747 short tons in April compared to March’s 48,560 short tons (Australia supplies Steelscape); the only other country in over 10,000 short tons was the Netherlands which more than tripled their March number with 19,953 short tons compared to the prior month’s 6,408 short tons.
As we look at the preliminary license data (through the 25th of May) for the month of May hot rolled imports appear they will be slightly lower than April.
Cold Rolled coil imports were lower in April by 2% as 71,859 short tons were received as compared to 73,104 short tons during the month of March. Only two countries exceeded 10,000 short tons – Canada with 17,218 short tons and Korea with 16,067 short tons. Canada’s numbers represented a decline of 11,298 short tons. Korea headed in the opposite direction and almost doubled their prior month’s 8,071 short tons. Mexican shipments dropped by 40% to 6,096 short tons.
Preliminary license data is showing May cold roll imports will decline by over 10% compared to April.
Galvanized coil imports dropped by 21% as government census data is showing 121,028 short tons as being received in April compared to the prior month’s 152,236 short tons. The U.S. largest international source of HDG was Canada with 55,178 short tons followed by Taiwan which stayed about the same as their March levels with 18,794 short tons. After Taiwan came Korea with 15,033 short tons and Mexico with 13,862 short tons. Korea’s tonnage was about the same as the prior month. However, Mexico’s tonnage actually declined by 8,980 short tons.
Preliminary license data has HDG imports for May potentially lower by as much as 10% over the April numbers.
One area of flat rolled which did increase during the month of April was “other metallic coated” which would include Galvalume and Aluminized. During the month of April 53,486 tons of “other metallic” arrived which is more than twice the 23,463 short tons which arrived in March.
Preliminary license data suggests Galvalume and Aluminized imports will be about the same to slightly lower during the month of May.