Steel Products Prices North America

Imports of Semi Finished and Hot Worked Steel through November 2013

Written by Peter Wright

Imports of most rolled products and semi finished declined in November. The only exceptions were rail and tin plate. Sheet products were down by 21.5 percent in total but within that group coated products were down over 40 percent. An analysis of the 3 month moving averages (3MMA) of imports results in a very different picture compared to the same period last year and to the previous three month period, June through August. We use the 3MMA to avoid getting too wrapped up in a single month’s numbers, which can be a very misleading exercise and would be the case for the November data. These conclusions include November licensed tonnage (Figure 1). We believe it is valid to include license data in this way because they have a good track record of approximating the final numbers and, at this macro level of analysis, we are concerned more with direction that we are with absolutely accurate numbers.

Table 1 provides a detailed import analysis and compares the average monthly tonnage of the three months through November, with both the same period last year and with three months through August.  The total tonnage of all hot worked products averaged 2,132,594 tons per month in three months through November, up by 9.4 percent compared to both the same period last year and with June through August (Table 1). All sheet products except tin plate were up by double digits in the most recent three months compared to June through August and every one was up by double digits year over year.  Plate products were down by 19.1 percent year over year. Semi finished was up by >26 percent in both time period comparisons.

Explanation: In order to reduce noise in the data it’s better to compare rolling three month periods which gives a real feel of trade flows. License data does not include district of entry so those details are delayed by an additional month. We believe that both a table and a graph are necessary because they provide a quite different but complimentary picture. The table is a snapshot of product detail with a short time element. The graph provides much less detail but gives a longer term perspective which is essential in understanding the current situation. SMU will continue the very detailed analysis of tonnage by source country and port of entry for individual sheet products in its premium service.  

Latest in Steel Products Prices North America