US steel imports
Previously in this series, we’ve looked at February’s consolidated steel import data. In this article, we’ll see which product categories saw major changes in imports during the month. Oil country tubular goods (or OCTG) imports fell ~38% in February. However, the fall came from a higher base, as imports had almost doubled in January. U.S. Steel Corporation’s (X) Tubular segment produces OCTG products.
Imports of hot roll coil (or HRC), cold roll coil (or CRC), and galvanized steel products fell on a month-over-month basis in February. However, while CRC and galvanized steel imports also fell on a yearly basis, HRC imports surged almost 50% year-over-year. AK Steel (AKS) has a high share of CRC and galvanized steel products in its flat-rolled product mix.
Rebar imports fell sharply in February. According to the preliminary data released by the United States Census Bureau, the country imported 35,800 metric tons of rebars in February 2018. Rebar imports totaled 86,913 metric tons in January 2018 and 148,457 metric tons in February 2017. Nucor (NUE) has been investing in expanding its rebar capacity and announced a new rebar mill last month. The rebar space has seen consolidation this year after Commercial Metals Company (CMC) acquired some of Gerdau’s (GGB) US rebar mills. It’s worth noting that US rebar demand could get a boost if President Trump goes ahead with his infrastructure plans.
While US steel imports have fallen, it should be interesting to see how US steel production is playing out. In the next part of this series, we’ll see how domestic supply is responding to lower steel imports.