Steel Products Prices North America

Analysis of Sheet Steel Imports by District of Entry and Source

Written by Peter Wright

We believe that misinformation (or a 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 through April. 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.

Through April of this year, 558,981 metric tons of HRC entered the country, down by 38 percent from the first four months in 2016. As an illustration of regional differences, San Francisco was down by 92 percent, Detroit was up by 21 percent and Houston was up by 13 percent.

The table included here (click to enlarge) describes the top four districts of entry through April. They include Columbia Snake, Detroit, Houston and Laredo. The table shows where the tonnage came from for each point of entry, the year-to-date April total for 2017 and 2016 and the year-to-date change. This is a small extract from one of the four spreadsheets we post in the Imports/Exports section of our website. The tables spell out the monthly tonnage by source for 33 districts around the country for HRC, CRC, HDG and OMC.

The discrepancy between the change in the national total and the individual regional changes 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 the first four months of 2016 and 2017 and is ranked by 2017 tonnage. These 10 districts account for 95.3 percent of the grand total in 2017. Detroit received the most tonnage through April and was up by 21 percent year over year. Columbia Snake ranked second place by volume, down by 52 percent.

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 the U.S. Department of Commerce, Enforcement and Compliance’s 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 steels, such as stainless and tool steel, which have been misclassified at the ports. These alloy steels are not included in our detailed reports, which results in a discrepancy between the two data sets, in particular for CRC, and to a lesser degree for HRC.

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