Steel Products Prices North America

June Import Licenses Climb to 12-Month High

Written by Laura Miller

US steel imports climbed in June to the highest monthly level over the past 12 months, based on June import license data compiled by the US Department of Commerce.

Import license applications reached 2,803,597 net tons in June, according to Commerce’s license count as of July 5. This was a 20.7% spike from the month prior but still 1.1% below the same month last year.

07.07.23 Import Licenses Total

07.07.23 Import Licenses Fig 2

Recall that import licenses are an important initial look at import levels for any given month but that preliminary and final figures can differ significantly depending on what products actually enter through Customs during the month.

Semi-finished steel imports accounted for the bulk of the month-on-month (MoM) increase, as they surged 58% from May with 686,145 tons of licenses in June. As SMU managing editor Michael Cowden pointed out in a recent analysis of the Commerce data, slab shipments from China jumped with 50,000 metric tons (55,155 tons) of licenses for the month. Slab imports from Mexico also increased notably MoM, rising to a recent high of 108,140 tons.

Finished steel imports, with 2,117,451 tons of licenses in June, were 12.1% higher MoM and at their highest level in 11 months.

Imports of long products jumped markedly, rising 40.5% MoM to an 11-month high of 551,762 tons. Rebar imports surged to 226,769 tons on significantly higher shipments from Algeria, Turkey, and Egypt.

07.07.23 Import Licenses Fig 3

Flat-rolled imports were at a 10-month high with June licenses of 980,238 tons, with hot-rolled sheet, coiled plate, and cut-to-length plate all showing noteworthy increases in tonnages – with the bulk of the increases in product coming from South Korea.

Hot-rolled sheet arriving from South Korea, after totaling 94,131 tons over the previous nine months combined, increased to 100,098 tons of licenses in June alone.

Coiled plate licenses from South Korea grew to 38,228 tons in June after imports averaged just 7,340 tons each month over the prior 11 months.

Cut-to-length plate arriving from South Korea was also at a recent high with 44,267 tons of licenses counted for June. Comparatively, those imports averaged 17,017 tons per month in the previous three months.

07.07.23 Import Licenses Flat Rolled

Licenses to import pipe and tube grew 11.5% MoM from May’s final figure to 506,376 tons in June. OCTG import licenses climbed to 253,435 tons in June from May’s recent low of 178,709 tons.

07.07.23 Import Licenses PT

The chart below provides further detail into imports by product, highlighting high-volume steel products.

07.07.23 Import Licenses Table

By Laura Miller,

Laura Miller

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