Steel Imports Rise 5 Percent First Monthly Increase in 2009

Washington, D.C., August 5, 2009 - Based on the Commerce Department’s most recent Steel Import Monitoring and Analysis (SIMA) data, the American Iron and Steel Institute (AISI) reported today that steel import permit applications for the month of July totaled 951,000 net tons (NT).  This was a 5% increase from the 902,000 permit tons recorded in June 2009 and a 12% increase from the June preliminary imports total of 849,000 NT.  This was the first monthly increase this year.  Import permit tonnage for finished steel in July was 851,000 NT, an increase of 7% from the preliminary imports total of 798,000 NT in June.   July 2009 total and finished steel import permit tons would annualize at 16,392,000 NT and 15,249,000 NT, down 49% and 41%, respectively, from the 31,927,000 NT and 25,956,000 NT imported in 2008. 

In July 2009, the largest finished steel import permit applications for offshore countries were for Japan (87,000 NT, up 47% from June), South Korea(75,000 NT, up 88%), Turkey(32,000 NT, up 1,500%) and China (30,000 NT, down 32%).   Finished steel import market share in July is estimated at 16% and at 25% year-to-date (YTD).

Finished steel import products that registered increases in July vs. the June preliminary include Sheet & Strip – All Other Metallic Coatings (up 135%), Plates in Coils (up 79%), Bars – Light Shapes (up 78%), Reinforcing Bar (up 70%) and Hot Rolled Bar (up 25%). 

In commenting on the July data, Thomas J. Gibson, president and CEO of AISI, said, “This is the first time in 2009 that monthly imports have gone up, but aggregate import totals remain relatively low, reflecting in part the severely depressed U.S. market conditions compared to other world regions.  With the domestic steel industry operating at only 53% capacity utilization and with imports year-to-date taking a quarter of the U.S. market, it is especially critical to be vigilant against any unfair trade in the U.S. market.”

AISI serves as the voice of the North American steel industry in the public policy arena and advances the case for steel in the marketplace as the preferred material of choice.  AISI also plays a lead role in the development and application of new steels and steelmaking technology.  AISI is comprised of 24 member companies, including integrated and electric furnace steelmakers, and 138 associate and affiliate members who are suppliers to or customers of the steel industry.  AISI's member companies represent approximately 75 percent of both U.S. and North American steel capacity.  For more news about steel and its applications, view AISI’s Web site at

Nancy Gravatt
Vice President, Communications
American Iron and Steel Institute
Tel: 202.452.7115