Steel Products Prices North America

Analysis of Sheet Steel Imports by District of Entry and Source

Written by Peter Wright

We believe that miss-information (or lack of) about regional import volumes is often used to influence purchase decisions. Our intent with this analysis of tonnage by district of entry is to describe in detail what is going on in a company’s immediate neighborhood and thus provide a negotiating advantage for our premium subscribers.

We are now publishing monthly data in the Imports/Exports section of our website that breaks down the tonnage of the four major sheet products (hot rolled, cold rolled, hot dipped galvanized, and other metallic coated) into the port of entry and country of origin in metric tons. This data set is large, therefore we will make no attempt to provide a commentary. Each readers interest will be different and he/she simply needs to select one of the four products then find the nearest port or ports of entry to see how much came into their region each month and where from. It is clear from these detailed reports that the growth of tonnage entering a particular district in many cases is completely different to the change in volume at the national level.

The table included here is a small extract from the data sheet for hot rolled coil. It describes the tonnage that has come in through Baltimore, Boston, Buffalo, Charleston, Chicago, Cleveland and Columbia Snake. It shows where it came from, the YTD tonnage and the YTD change compared to 2016. The total volume of HRC through January was down by 55 percent year over year but Buffalo and Chicago both had a large increase in tonnage.

The differences between regions and the discrepancy between each region and the national total is why we think it important for both market understanding and negotiating position to know what is going on in your own back yard.

The chart shows graphically the tonnage of HRC that entered the top 10 districts in YTD January for 2016 and 2017 and is ranked by 2017 tonnage. These 10 districts account for 99.5 percent of the grand total in 2017. Detroit received the most tonnage in January 2017 and in January last year Columbia Snake had the highest volume.

The data in these detailed reports is compiled from tariff and trade data from the U.S. Department of Commerce and the U.S. International Trade Commission. Our other import reports are sourced from U.S. Department of Commerce, Enforcement and Compliance, aka the Steel Import Monitoring System. In the development of these reports by district and source country we have discovered that the SIMA data for HRC and CRC contains some high alloy steel such as stainless and tool steel which have been miss classified at the ports. These alloy steels are not included in our detailed reports which results in a discrepancy between the two data sets for CRC in particular and for HRC to a lesser degree.

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