Steel Products Prices North America

Sheet and Plate Imports by District of Entry and Source-October 2017

Written by Peter Wright

This analysis breaks down the imported tonnage of six flat rolled products into the district of entry and the source country. We believe that misinformation (or lack of) about regional import volumes is often used to influence purchase decisions. Our intent with this analysis 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.

Premium members will find reports on our website that break down the import tonnage through October into the port of entry and country of origin in metric tons. Products analyzed in this way are HRC, CRC, HDG sheet, OMC sheet, CTL plate and coiled plate. This data set is large; therefore, we will make no attempt to provide a commentary. Each reader’s interest will be different and he or she simply needs to select one of the six products, then find the nearest port or ports of entry to see how much came into the region each month and from where. It is clear from these detailed reports that the change in tonnage entering a particular district in many cases is completely different to the change in volume at the national level.

Some examples to illustrate why this information can be actionable are as follows. Examples are for 2017 through October:

  • Total cut-to-length plate imports were down by 29 percent, but Tampa has been shut out in 2017 after receiving 206,725 metric tons through October last year. In 2017, Buffalo was up 58 percent through October and Baltimore was down by 75 percent.
  • Total HRC imports were down by 29 percent through October, but San Francisco was down by 91 percent from 455,861 metric tons in 2016 to 42,482 in 2017.New Orleans fell off the map, down by 87 percent from 91,556 tons YTD 2016 to 12,216 tons in YTD 2017
  • The total of other metallic coated, mainly Galvalume, was up by 25 percent YTD October, but Savannah was up by 87 percent and Tampa was down by 39 percent.

The discrepancy between the change in the national total and the individual regions is why we think it’s important for both market understanding and negotiating position to know what’s going on in your own backyard.

The table included here is a small part of the detailed analysis of other metallic coated tonnage. The bar graph shows the tonnage that entered the top 10 districts in YTD October for 2016 and 2017 ranked by 2017 tonnage. These 10 districts account for 94.5 percent of the grand total in 2017. Houston received the most tonnage through October 2017 followed by New Orleans, Savannah and Laredo.

The data in these detailed reports is compiled from tariff and trade data published by 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 misclassified at the ports. These alloy steels are not included in our detailed reports, which results in a small discrepancy between the two data sets, for CRC in particular and for HRC to a lesser degree.

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