Steel Products Prices North America

April Foreign Steel Imports Still Trending on High Side

Written by John Packard

Based on the first two weeks of steel import license data collected by the US Department of Commerce, total steel imports coming into the U.S. during the month of April continue to trend well over 3.0 million tons. We are still early in the month and our opinion is the import number should be slightly lower than the 3.7 million tons received in February (final census) and March (license data as of today).

Here is a breakdown of the daily license receipt rate through the second week of the month for December 2014, January, February, March and now April 2015. As you can see the daily rate is slightly lower than all of the months except January (which bounced the 3rd week of the month).

We have another article in tonight’s issue regarding what we believe will happen to imports in the coming months based on what our survey results are telling us.

In the meantime, if license requests for the month of April continue at the current daily rate we would see another month close to the 3.7 million ton level. As mentioned previously, SMU believes at this time that the numbers will slow and the month will come in at 3.2-3.5 million tons.

During April 2014 we saw 3.7 million tons of imported steel (all products), the year prior to that (2013) the number was 2.7 million tons.

If April 2015 comes in below 3.2 million tons we could see a large adjustment in service center inventory levels by the end of April (MSCI data). We will see the March MSCI data on Wednesday of this week.

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