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Based on reported import licenses, US flat steel products imports fell 2% from 887,000 short tons in April to 872,000 tons in May. Flat products imports for the first five months of 2017 were 4% lower than in the same period last year, with increases in hot dip galvanized (+26%) and cold rolled (+33%) imports, and declines from hot rolled (-26%) and cut plate (-50%) imports.

There was little change in overall flat products imports between April and May because cut plate and hot rolled imports together rose by about the same volume as cold rolled and hot dip galvanized imports together declined. The biggest volume change month-on-month came from lower cold rolled imports which was mainly due to reduced volumes from Russia and Turkey.

SIMA US flat products import licenses and actuals
January 2013 to May 2017

short tons


Photo by Bidgee [CC BY-SA 3.0 au (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/au/deed.en)], via Wikimedia Commons

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Worldsteel reported Chinese crude steel production at 72.8 million metric tonnes in April, 4.9% higher than in April 2016. Chinese crude output for the first four months of 2017 was 4.5% higher than in the same period last year.

Chinese net finished steel exports (exports minus imports) in April were 5.4 million tonnes, 32.2% lower than in April 2016. Chinese net finished steel exports over the first four months of 2017 were 30.7% lower than in the first four months of 2016.

China monthly crude steel production
January 2005 to April 2017, thousand metric tonnes


Photo by Anne Isabelle Sigros (photo de chantier) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

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Worldsteel published April’s world crude steel production yesterday. World crude steel output was 142.1 million metric tonnes, 5.0% higher than in April 2016. World production for the first four months of 2017 was 5.1% higher than in the same period last year.

China accounted for 51% of world output in April with production of 72.8 million tonnes, 4.9% higher than in April 2016. Outside of China, Asian crude production increased 4.8%, led by Vietnam (+109.9%), India (+4.8%), and Japan (+3.0%). European Union output rose 6.1% compared to last April due to higher output in France (+30.8%) and Germany (8.1%). In the Americas, Brazil showed a 25.9% production increase and output in the US rose 1.8%. Other significant changes compared to last April include higher production in Turkey (+6.5%), Russia (+4.3%) and Iran (+15.0%), as well as lower production in the Ukraine (-28.6%).

All the data for April 2017 and for a number of prior years can be found in the downloadable Nerds spreadsheet below.


Photo by Koyos (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

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Based on reported import licenses, US long steel products imports fell 16% from 552,000 short tons in March to 462,000 tons in April. Long products imports for the first four months of 2017 were 8% higher than in the same period last year led by a 16% increase in rebar imports and an 8% increase in wire rod imports. Parallel flange sections, however, showed a 10% import drop comparing the first four month of 2016 and 2017.

The drop between March and April (bearing in mind the shorter April month) was mainly due to lower rebar imports from Turkey.

SIMA US long products import licenses and actuals
2012 to 2017

short tons


Photo by Tosirog (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

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ArcelorMittal released Q1 2017 earnings earlier today. EBITDA per ton shipped rose from $55 last quarter to $96 this quarter. This puts the company right on the average of the companies we track in the spreadsheet below.

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Based on reported import licenses, US flat steel products imports rose 13% from 816,000 short tons in March to 924,000 tons in April. Flat products imports for the first four months of 2017 were 4% lower than in the same period last year, with increases in hot dip galvanized (+26%) and cold rolled (+42%) imports, and declines from hot rolled (-29%) and cut plate (-52%) imports.

Imports of all flat products categories rose between March and April 2017 but the highest volume increase came from hot dip galvanized volumes from countries including South Africa, Turkey, and Taiwan.

SIMA US flat products import licenses and actuals
January 2013 to April 2017

short tons


Photo by Andrzej Otrębski (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

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