Steel Products Prices North America

October Import Licenses at 3.3 Million Tons

Written by John Packard

Based on the most recent import license data released by the U.S. Department of Commerce, October import licenses totaled 3,399,248 net tons. We anticipate when the final census numbers are released for the month of October total steel imports will be somewhere between 3.2 and 3.4 million tons (net tons not metric tons).

Imports of foreign steel into the United States are expected to be 400,000 to 600,000 tons greater than what we saw in September and 200,000-400,000 greater than final census data for August.

A major portion of the increase in tonnage for the month of October can be directly traced to the domestic steel mills who requested almost 1 million tons of licenses for semi-finished steels (slabs & billets with most being slabs). This represents an increase of approximately 369,000 tons. The 969,000 tons of semi-finished license requests during the month of October is 330,000 tons above the 12 month moving average (12MMA) and 362,000 tons greater than the 3 month moving average.

The other area where we saw a jump in tonnage compared to September was in hot rolled coil which went from September’s 278,000 tons to October’s 350,000 tons. Hot rolled is another product which is imported by the domestic steel mills. Once we receive the Final Census data from the U.S. Department of Commerce on HRC we will track the ports used to bring in the material to see if we can isolate where the coils are going.

When looking at just the flat rolled steels that are involved in dumping suits (HR, CR, GI, AZ/AL) we found that hot rolled was greater than September but less than August, cold rolled was less than both September and August levels, galvanized was greater than September but less than August, and Galvalume/aluminized (most being AZ) was well above September and also above August levels.

Plate, which one of our sources yesterday mentioned may be the next product hit with antidumping trade action, found coiled plate almost the same as September but 32,000 tons below August levels.Cut plate was reported as being lower than September and about the same as August levels.

A number of countries involved in trade cases on flat rolled steels saw their products “surge” during the month of October:

Hot Rolled

South Korea: Requested the most HRC licenses than at any other time during the past 12 months. The Koreans requested 141,000 net tons for October.

Brazil: Their 72,000 net tons the second most requested in any month during the last 12 months. August was the most tonnage requested at 85,000 tons.

Australia, Japan, Turkey, the Netherlands and United Kingdom saw their tonnage drop.

Cold Rolled

China: Import licenses dropped dramatically in October with only 5,400 net tons of requests. In September the Chinese mills shipped 56,000 net tons into the U.S.

Korea: Has kept their exports of CR to the U.S. relatively stable over the past few months. October license requests were for 11,400 net tons.

Brazil: Import license requests totaled 18,300 net tons or about the same as September.

Japan: Cut their license requests in half in October to 8,000 net tons.

United Kingdom: Increased their license requests to 11,300 net tons. This is about their average over the last four months.

Russia: They don’t seem to be concerned about the antidumping allegations on CR as their tonnage remains relatively high at 22,000 net tons.

India: Their tonnage in CR license requests have essentially dried up over the past few months. India had just 88 net tons of license requests.

CORE – Corrosion Resistant – Galvanized

China: Requests for galvanized licenses dropped to almost nothing for the month of October. Traders representing Chinese mills requested 1,800 net tons of GI licenses.

Korea: Has continued to ship product as before requesting 34,000 net tons of GI licenses for October.

India: Exports of GI grew dramatically in October with 27,000 tons of import license requests.

Taiwan: Tripled its requests for licenses in October vs. September. Taiwan requested 42,600 net tons of GI licenses vs. 14,500 net tons in September.

Italy: Dropped to essentially zero tons with their 540 net tons of license requests.

CORE – Corrosion Resistant – Galvalume

China – has dropped to essentially zero as they requested only 768 net tons of AZ licenses.

Korea: Has been growing their tonnage and requested 38,000 tons of AZ/AL licenses.

Taiwan: Also growing their tonnage with 38,400 net tons of AZ licenses.

Italy: A very small player in AZ/AL products with only 478 net tons of license requests.

India: Also a very small player with 459 net tons.

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