Based on reported import licenses and as predicted in last month’s post, US long products imports dropped 20% from 381,000 short tons in June to 306,000 tons in July. July 2014 imports were 4% lower than in July 2013, and in addition, January-to-July 2014 imports were 19% higher than in the same period last year.

An approximately 50% drop in wire rod imports between June and July drove the overall decline. This was mainly due to lower wire rod volumes from Turkey, South Korea, and Japan.

Long product import licenses for August as reported August 19th were 316,000 tons, which is likely to mean that full-month August imports will be much higher than July’s.

SIMA US long products import licenses and import actuals
2012 to 2014

short tons

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Based on reported import licenses, US flat product imports increased 15% from 1,160,000 short tons in June to 1,336,000 tons in July. Flat products imports in July, 2013 were 678,000 tons and in July, 2012 they were 798,000 tons. January-to-July flats imports were 63% higher than in the same period last year, with cold rolled imports rising the most year-on-year, by 87%.

The June-to-July rise was mainly due to higher hot rolled imports, which rose by about 40% month-on-month and by about 65% compared to July, 2013. Comparing June, 2014 to July, 2014, hot rolled imports increased most significantly from Russia, but also from a number of other countries such as Japan, Italy, and Brazil.

I will update the chart below to show mid-August license data when the figures are published the week of August 17th.

SIMA US import licenses and actuals, flat products
October 2011 to July 2014

short tons
*October 2013 licenses are incomplete due to US government shutdown

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Crude steel production in China was 69.4 million metric tonnes in June, 7.2% higher than in June 2013 and 1.7% higher on an average daily basis compared to May 2014. China’s first-half 2014 crude production was 410 million tonnes, which is 4.8% higher than in the first half of 2013.

China’s net finished steel exports in June were 5.9 million tonnes, 41% higher than in June 2013 but a 13% drop from May 2014 net exports. Year-to-June 2014 net exports were also 41% higher than in the same period in 2013.

China Monthly Crude Steel Production June 2004 to June 20014
(thousand metric tonnes)

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Worldsteel published June’s global crude steel production on July 22nd. World crude steel production was 136.5 million metric tonnes, 4% higher than in July 2013. Production in the first half of 2014 was 3% higher than in the same period last year.

In June, China accounted for 51% of world production with output of 69.3 million tonnes, a 7% increase compared to June 2013. Elsewhere in Asia, South Korean production climbed 11% year-on-year and Indian production fell 2%. In the Americas over the same period, Brazilian production declined by 5% while Mexican production increased 12% and US production showed a 2% growth. Production in the European Union countries was up 1% June-to-June.

All the data for June 2014 and for a number of prior years can be viewed in the Nerds spreadsheet below.

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Based on reported import licenses, US long products imports fell 8% from 422,000 short tons in May to 387,000 tons in June. June imports were 18% higher than in June 2013, and in addition, 1st half 2014 imports were 38% higher than in the same period last year.

Imports of all product categories except merchant bar declined. Wire rod and parallel flange sections imports fell the most, with wire rod imports falling mainly from China (and despite a strong increase from Turkey) and parallel flange sections imports falling mainly from Russia.

Long products import licenses for July as reported July 15th were 107,000 tons, which is likely to mean that full-month July imports will be lower than June’s.

SIMA US long products import licenses and import actuals
2012 to 2014

short tons

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Based on reported import licenses, US flat products imports rose 8% from 1,087,000 short tons in May to 1,176,000 tons in June. Flat products imports in June 2013 were 607,000 tons and in June 2012 they were 708,000 tons. January-to-June flats imports were 57% higher than in the same period last year.

Cold rolled, cut plate and hot rolled imports all rose between May and June. Cold rolled imports increased the most, by about 25%, due to higher volumes from China. Cut plate imports also rose significantly with higher volumes from a number of countries but particularly from Korea.

I will update the chart below to show mid-July license data when the figures are published the week of July 14th.

SIMA US imports licenses and actuals, flat products
June 2011 to June 2014

short tons
*October 2013 licenses are incomplete to to US government shutdown

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Worldsteel published May’s global crude steel production on June 20th. World crude steel production was 141 million metric tonnes, 2% higher than in May 2013. Year-to-May production in 2014 was 3% higher than in the same period last year.

China continues to account for 50% of world production. China’s output in May was 70 million tonnes, an increase of 3% compared to May 2013. Also in Asia, South Korean production increased 11% between May 2013 and May 2014. In addition, European Union production increased by 3% year-on-year, with Germany accounting for the majority of the climb. And in the NAFTA region, Canadian production was up 14% compared to May last year, Mexican production up by 6% and US production up by 1%.

All the data for May 2014 and for a number of prior years can be viewed in the Nerds spreadsheet below.

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China crude steel production was 70.4 million metric tonnes in May, 2.6% higher than in May 2014 and 1.0% lower on an average daily basis compared to April 2014. China’s year-to-May crude production was 340 million tonnes, which is 4.4% higher than year-to-May 2013 output.

China’s net finished steel exports in May were 6.9 million tonnes, 65% higher than in May 2013. Net exports as a percentage of monthly crude output reached 10% in May compared to 9% in April 2014, and continuing the steady climb since we started recording the data in January 2012 when net exports were 5% of monthly crude production.

China Monthly Crude Steel Production May 2004 to May 2014
(thousand metric tonnes)

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