Steel Products Prices North America

October Steel Imports Could be 2nd Biggest Month in History

Written by John Packard

The U.S. Department of Commerce updated license data for the month of October this afternoon. According to the data collected through November 4th imports for October will be approximately 4.3 million net tons. Based on the latest license data, October should come in around 4,381,875 net tons. This number could be +/- a couple of hundred thousand tons once actual census data is compared against the license requests.

Either way, October 2014 is poised to be one of the biggest months for imported steel in history.

The largest single month for steel imports was achieved in August 1998 when the United States received 4.417 million net tons.

In 2006 there were three months that exceeded 4.0 million net tons: March with 4.060 million tons, August with 4.193 million tons and July with 4.286 million tons.

Earlier this year, during the month of May, steel imports exceeded 4 million tons for the first time since 2006. We recorded 4,033,351 net tons during that month.

It is important to remember how the import license system works and why, even on November 4th, we do not have a fixed figure for October imports. Please read an excellent article on the subject by David Phelps who retired at the end of 2013 as the president of the American Institute for International Steel (AIIS). This will help you understand why the numbers vary and how unpredictable the license process can be when trying to determine final import tonnages for any month not yet having a census count attached to it.

Below is our table showing our steel import analysis with the 12 month moving average, 3 month moving average as well as August final, September final and October license data. We will not produce anything on November until the middle of the month.

SMU Note: We expect a surge in Russian hot rolled imports in November and early December as they must arrive by December 16, 2014 or be subject to antidumping duties.

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