Steel Products Prices North America

Sheet and Plate Imports by District of Entry and Source-December 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 are 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 data sheets on our website our website that break down the import tonnage through December 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.

Here are some recent examples to illustrate why this information can be actionable:

• Over three million metric tons of hot-dipped galvanized sheets were imported into the U.S. in 2017, an increase of 10 percent over 2016. San Francisco was up by 108 percent and Houston by 23 percent. Detroit was down by 5 percent.

• Cut-to-length plate imports totaled 765,109 tons in 2017, a decline of 25 percent year over year, but Tampa was down by an astonishing 99.8 percent and Buffalo was up by 55 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 (click to enlarge) is a small part of the detailed analysis of the cold rolled tonnage. The bar graph shows the tonnage of CR that entered the top 10 districts in year-to-date December for 2016 and 2017 ranked by 2017 tonnage. These 10 districts account for 92.7 percent of the grand total in 2017. New Orleans had the most tonnage through December 2017 followed by Los Angeles, Detroit and Philadelphia.

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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