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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Based on reported import licenses, and after a 16% rise in April, US long products imports dropped 16% from 505,000 short tons in April to 424,000 tons in May. January-to-May long products imports in 2014 rose 25% compared to the same period last year.

A fall in wire rod imports drove the overall drop due to lower volumes from China, but lower rebar imports from Mexico and Peru also contributed to the 16% fall. In contrast, parallel flange sections imports rose, mainly due to higher volumes from Russia and the United Arab Emirates.

Long products import licenses as reported June 17th were 238,000 tons, which is likely to mean that full-month June imports will be lower than May’s.

SIMA US import licenses and import actuals 2012 to 2014
short tons

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Based on reported import licenses, US flat products imports fell 2% from 1,055,000 short tons in April to 1,037,000 tons in May. Flat products imports in May, 2013 were 623,000 and in May 2012 they were 791,000 tons. In addition, January-to-May flat products imports were 49% higher than in the same period in 2013.

A drop in cold rolled imports of about 30% compared to April drove the decline in imports and was mainly due to lower volumes from China and Russia. However, both hot rolled imports and hot dip galvanized imports rose by 10 to 15% between April and May, reducing the drop for the sum of all product categories.

I will update the chart below to show mid-June license data when the figures are published the week of June 16th.

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

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

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China crude steel production was 68.8 million metric tonnes in April, 4.9% higher than in April 2013 and 1.3% higher on an average daily basis compared to March 2014. China’s year-to-April crude production was 269.9 million tonnes, which is 4.9% higher than year-to-April 2013 output.

China’s net finished steel exports in April were approximately 6.3 million tonnes, 48% higher than in April 2013. This volume is about 9% of the monthly crude output in April, the highest level we have seen since we started recording the data in January 2012 when net exports were 5% of monthly crude production.

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

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Worldsteel published April’s global crude steel production on May 21st. World crude steel production was 137 million metric tonnes, 3% higher than in April 2013. Year-to-April production in 2014 was 4% higher than in the same period last year.

China continues to account for 50% of world production. Its output increased by 5% compared to April 2013, as did its year-to-April production compared to year-to-April 2013. Elsewhere in Asia, Indian production also increased by 5% April 2013 to April 2014, South Korean production by 11%, but Japan’s production fell 3%. In addition, production in the European Union countries increased by 4% April 2013 to April 2014, but US production fell 2%.

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

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