Based on reported import licenses, US flat products imports rose 2% from 1,254,000 short tons in February to 1,281,000 tons in March. Flat products imports in March 2014 were 1,001,000 tons and in March 2013 they were 652,000 tons. Based on March licenses and February and January actuals, flats imports for the first quarter of 2015 were 39% higher than in the same period last year.

Imports of hot rolled and hot dip galvanized steel rose while cold rolled and cut plate imports fell. Hot rolled imports increased significantly from Korea, Turkey, India, and South Africa while hot dip galvanized imports rose from a number of countries including Korea and India, and despite much lower imports from China. Cold rolled imports also fell from China while cut plate imports fell mainly from France, Germany and Italy.

I will update the chart below to show mid-April licenses when the figures are published the week of 20 April.

SIMA US imports licenses and actuals, flat products
March 2012 to March 2015

short tons

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Worldsteel reported Chinese crude steel production at 65.0 million metric tonnes in February, 3.4% higher than the revised figure for February 2014 and 9.9% higher on an average daily basis compared to January 2015. Chinese crude output for the first two months of 2015 were 0.8% lower than in the same period last year.

China’s net finished steel exports (exports minus imports) in February were 6.9 million tonnes, which is over 80% higher than in February 2014.

China monthly crude steel production
January 2005 to February 2015

thousand metric tonnes

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Worldsteel published February’s world crude steel production on February 20th. World crude steel production was 127.6 million metric tonnes, 0.6% higher than in February 2014 and on the basis of average daily production during the month, 5.6% higher than in January 2015.

China accounted for 51% of world crude steel production in February with output of 65.0 million tonnes, up 3.4% compared to February 2014. European Union production fell by 2% year-on-year, led by a 9.7% drop in Italy and a 20.4% drop in Poland. Elsewhere in Europe, Turkish output fell 12.2%. In the CIS, Russian output increased 5.6% and Ukrainian production fell 33.2%. Other significant changes between February 2014 and February 2015 include a 7.9% fall in the US and an 8.1% drop in Mexico, and in Asia, a 5.6% rise in India and a 4.4% drop in South Korea.

All the data for February 2015 and for a number of prior years can be found in the Nerds spreadsheet below.

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Based on reported import licenses, US long products imports rose 19% from 407,000 short tons in January to 485,000 tons in February. Long products imports in February 2014 were 298,000 tons and in February 2013 they were 256,000 tons. Long products imports for the first two months of 2015 were 20% higher than in the same period last year.

The rise in February was mainly due to higher rebar imports, with volumes increasing mainly from Turkey, but also from Japan and Taiwan. Parallel flange sections imports also rose significantly due to increases from Russia, Germany, the United Arab Emirates, and Korea and despite lower volumes from China.

Long products import licenses for March as reported mid-month on March 17th were 361,000 tons which is likely to mean that full-month March longs imports will be lower than February’s.

SIMA US long products import licenses and import actuals
2012 to 2015

short tons

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Based on reported import licenses, US flat products imports fell 16% from 1,499,000 short tons in January to 1,252,000 tons in February. Flat products imports in February 2014 were 982,000 tons and in February 2013 they were 674,000 tons. The January and February flat products imports total so far this year is 45% higher than in the same period last year.

The fall was due to lower hot roll imports from countries including Turkey, Australia, the UK, Brazil, Saudi Arabia, and Korea. Of all the flat products categories, only hot dip galvanized imports increased, here mainly due to higher volumes from China and India.

I will update the chart below to show mid-March licenses when the figures are published the week of March 16th.

SIMA US import licenses and actuals, flat products
February 2012 to February 2015

short tons

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Worldsteel reported Chinese crude steel production at 65.5 million metric tonnes in January, 4.7% lower than in January 2014 and 3.8% lower than in December 2015.

China’s net finished steel exports (exports minus imports) in January were 9.1 million tonnes based on a record high volume of exports at 10.3 million tonnes. January net exports were 68% higher than in the same month last year. And finally, net exports as a portion of crude steel production in January stayed about the same as in the past few months at 14%, but much higher than the 8% level seen in January 2014.

China monthly crude steel production
January 2005 to January 2015

thousand metric tonnes

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Worldsteel published January’s world crude steel production on February 20th. World crude steel production was 133.1 million metric tonnes, 2.9% lower than in January 2014 and 0.5% lower than in December 2014.

China accounted for 49% of world crude steel production in January with output of 65.5 million tonnes, down 4.7% compared to January 2014. Significant declines were reported elsewhere in Asia such as a 4.0% decrease in Japan and a 5.0% fall in South Korea. Other important year-on-year changes include a 6.0% increase in production in Russia and a 25.2% drop in the Ukraine. In addition, Turkish production was down 10.4% compared to January 2014 while Brazilian production increased 7.7%. European Union output fell by 1.1% over the same period, driven by lower production in Italy and France and despite an 11.8% increase in Spain. And finally, US production grew by 0.4%.

All the data for January 2015 and for a number of prior years can be found in the Nerds spreadsheet below.

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Based on reported import licenses, US long products imports rose 1% from 353,000 short tons in December to 358,000 tons in January. Long products imports in January 2014 were 447,000 tons and in January 2013 they were 267,000 tons.

There was little change in import levels because rebar imports increased by about the same volume as wire rod imports fell. Rebar imports increased significantly from Turkey and Japan, even if this was offset by declines from Spain and Portugal. Wire rod imports fell from a number of countries including Turkey, Japan, Brazil and the UK.

Long products import licenses for February as reported mid-month on February 18th were 413,000 tons, which is likely to mean that full-month February longs imports will be much higher than January’s.

SIMA US long products import licenses and import actuals
2012 to 2015

short tons

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