Steel Products

Domestic Mills Import Approximately 7.5 Million Tons of Semi’s During 2012

Written by John Packard

Of the 33,512,516 net tons of total imports projected by Steel Market Update to be received into the United States during calendar year 2012 some 7,584,955 net tons are forecast to be semi-finished. Semi-finished products include slabs, billets and blooms – however, the vast majority of them are slabs being imported by the domestic steel mills to be rolled and shipped to U.S. customers.

The 7.5 million tons is the highest level of imported semi’s since 2006 when the domestic mills received 9,150,606 net tons. The second highest level (actually third when taking 2012 into consideration) in the recent past was 2004 when 7,200,628 net tons were imported.

Semi-finished accounted for 22.63 percent of all steel imported into the United States during 2012 based on our forecasted data.

However, the domestic steel mills accounted for much more than 22.63 percent of the total imports having imported other products such as hot rolled and full hard cold rolled for conversion.

During the months of November and December 2012 we are seeing heavy shipments of semi-finished products. November preliminary census data has semi’s at 646,880 net tons while license data projects December semi’s could be as high as 803,765 net tons. The two largest exporting countries are Russia and Brazil – in that order. Over the past three months, Russian exports of semi-finished to the U.S. have surged to approximately 677,854 net tons (based on December forecast with 27 days of license data). To put this into perspective Russia only exported to the U.S. 861,230 tons during calendar year 2011 but, they did ship over 2 million tons during 2006.

Brazil tonnage has been growing due to the growth of the ThyssenKrupp Steel USA mill. Brazilian exports of semi’s have gone from 2.7 million tons during 2011 to approximately 3.6 million tons this year.

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