Flat-Rolled Imports Even Higher in May’s Preliminary Count

Written by Laura Miller

In May’s preliminary count, total US steel imports came in below import licenses tallied for the month. At the same time, however, flat-rolled steel imports came in higher than licenses originally suggested, according to the latest data from the International Trade Administration’s (ITA’s) steel import monitor.

SMU’s previous analysis of May import data showed 2,395,039 net tons of import licenses granted for May, with 916,544 tons of flat-rolled licenses. The ITA’s preliminary May figures released this week show 2,319,796 tons of total imports, with 951,791 tons of that being flat-rolled steel.

The preliminary numbers show just a 2.6% month-on-month (MoM) drop in total imports and a 15.6% decline from May 2022.

06.27.23 Prelim Imports 1

May’s three-month moving average (3MMA) of imports is 2,430,777 tons. The 3MMA so far this year is trending well below the elevated levels seen for much of 2021 and 2022.

06.27.23 Prelim Imports 2

Flat-rolled imports, meanwhile, now show a 27.6% MoM spike to 907,672 tons – the highest level in nine months. FR imports are still lower than last year, however – down 8.4% from May 2022’s 1,039,028 tons.

06.27.23 Prelim Imports 3

Noteworthy differences in flat-rolled licenses vs. preliminary figures can be seen in hot-rolled sheet and tin plate.

The preliminary count of HR sheet imports, at 171,387 tons, was 7.5% higher than May licenses, pushing them up to a nine-month high.

Shipments of hot rolled from South Korea were at a six-month high, jumping to 17,086 tons in May. HR shipments from Brazil have been creeping up in recent months, totaling 19,630 tons from February to May after having been essentially nonexistent before that, according to the ITA data.

Tin plate imports are now at an 11-month high of 102,629 tons in May’s preliminary count. This was 18% higher than May’s licenses. Tin plate imports from Germany jumped 66% MoM to a recent high of 36,712 tons.

By Laura Miller,

Laura Miller

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