Coiled Plate Imports Surging in April
Since Reliance was speaking about plate during their conference call with analysts this past week SMU decided to take a quick look at the U.S. Department of Commerce import data for the months of March and April 2012.
During March cut-length plate imports were significantly higher this year than last (132,500 short tons vs. 70,284 short tons) as well as the prior month (91,280 short tons). The largest importing countries were: Canada; Korea (which has been surging over the past 2 months – last March Korea shipped 2,759 short tons vs. this March 23,327 short tons); Turkey (also surging); Brazil & Germany. China shipped 281 short tons (not a typo) or 0.002% over the total cut-length plate imports.
Cut to length plate license data for the month of April is suggesting imports will be down from March levels to approximately 100,000-115,000 short tons.
Plates in coil form were actually down during the month of March to 90,883 short tons from 131,116 short tons imported during the month of February 2012. Compared to last year imports this March were 3% higher than March 2011.
More than half the tonnage came from Canada with Korea being the only other significant player (over 10,000 short tons) followed by Mexico, Russia & New Zealand at 3,821 short tons. China did not ship any plate in coil form during the month of March or February for that matter and they have license request to import 162 short tons during the month of April.
Plates in coil form appear will surge to their highest level in years as license data suggest coiled plate imports in April will be approximately 120,000-135,000 short tons. The one country which is surging is Russia which has 80,000 short tons of license requests through the 24th of April. Other countries surging include: Netherlands, Germany & Italy.
A Side Note: Plate Exports
In February, which is the most recent month we have export data on the U.S. DOC website, the U.S. mills shipped 79,286 short tons of plate in coil form. Our exports went to: Mexico, Canada and Italy (865 short tons to Italy).
Cut to length plate exports in February totaled 112,294 short tons with Canada and Mexico being our largest trading partners followed by Bangladesh with 1,858 short tons.