Merchant final imports to the US in February were down 10.6% year to date (YTD), year on year (y/y), totaling 84,529 tons for the two months ending February 2017. On a month over month comparison, Merchant imports were down 0.9%.
Figure 1 charts the largest exporting countries in rank order on a YTD basis through February for both 2016 and 2017. Mexico was the largest exporter at 32,291 tons, up 19.8% YTD y/y. Canada was the next largest with 29,555 tons, down 10.9% YTD y/y. Mexican plus Canadian merchant imports account for 73.3% of the total thus far in 2017. Japanese merchant exports to the US plummeted 38.7% to 8,612 tons. Turkey sent 7,457 tons a 25.1% decline YTD y/y. The remaining 15 countries merchant imports totaled 6,614 tons or 7.8% of total intake.
Laredo Texas was the largest receiving port, offloading 23,648 tons YTD, up 40% YTD y/y. Detroit held the number two spot with 18,743 tons, up 4.2% YTD y/y. Houston/Galveston was the next largest port bringing in 6,369 ton YTD, off 18.2% YTD y/y. Buffalo received 5,921, jumping 59.6% YTD y/y, followed by New Orleans with 5,449 tons falling 57.8% YTD y/y. California ports of Los Angeles and San Diego were the next largest, receiving 4,650, down 8.1% YTD y/y and 4,363, off 31.5%% YTD y/y respectfully. El Paso was the 8th largest receiver of US merchants with 3.959 tons, up 7.1% YTD y/y. Ogdensburg NY was next offloading 2,928 tons up 59.1% YTD y/y. Rounding-out the top 10 was Philadelphia, bringing in 1,714 tons, plummeting 83% YTD y/y. Eighteen additional ports combined to receive 6,788 tons of merchant imports thus far in 2017, 8.0% of the total volume YTD.
Figure 2 shows total Merchant licenses through April for both 2016 and 2017 as well as the average unit value (AUV), as reported by the Steel Import Monitoring System (SIMA). The AUV had been trending up after bottoming out in November last year. The average merchant import AUV was $642 in April, down $10 month on month. The short range peak was $658 per ton realized in February. Total requested licenses for Merchant imports in April was 73,929 tons down from March’s 87,253 tons. Canada topped the list requesting licenses for 19,517 tons for April down substantially from the previous months 32,408 tons. Mexico requested 17,537 tons for April, also down a great deal from March’s 27,863 tons. Japan and Turkey are looking for 9,119 and 4,938 tons of licenses for April respectfully. Figure 3 illustrates the top 10 countries YTD licenses for both 2016YTD and 2017 YTD.
At Gerdau we closely follow trade in long products steel since it has a profound impact on domestic market share and material pricing. We want you, our valued customers to have access to current information that can help you better plan and operate your businesses.