Merchant licenses for May totaled 26,319 tons, down 71.4% from last month’s 92,199 tons and down 67.3% from last year’s May license total of 80,369 tons. Year to date (YTD), there have been a total of 354,645 tons of Merchant license requests, down 14.0% from the 412,243 tons licensed YTD 2016.

merchants-fig1Figure 1 shows the overall total Merchant licenses through May for both 2016 and 2017 as well as the average unit value (AUV), as reported by the Steel Import Monitoring System (SIMA). There are three sub groups that make up the overall Merchant total tonnage; these include Light angles and channels, MBQ bars and Heavy angles and channels.

Light angles and channels May license total was 2,408 tons off a great deal from April’s 14,837 tons and its YTD average of 11,647 tons. MBQ bars May license total was 18,589 tons off sharply from April’s 34,216 tons and its YTD average of 34,112 tons. Heavy angles and channels May license total was 5,322 tons down from April’s 14,837 tons and its YTD average of 25,170 tons.

Figure 2merchants-fig2 charts the overall total Merchant licenses through May for both 2016 and 2017 YTD by country for 2016 and 2017. Canada and Mexico are the largest exporters by a large margin. Both country’s license totals are down year on year (y/y). Canada requested 113,871 licensed tons in 2017, down 18.3% y/y. Mexico requested 100,933 licensed tons in 2017, down 10.6% y/y. Japan is the third largest exporter of merchant products YTD to the US with 28,821 licensed tons, off 38.1% y/y. Turkey’s license tons are nearly identical YTD y/y with 24,191 tons this year vs 23,911 tons in 2016. Germany is also very consistent with just 410 ton differential YTD y/y, licensing 19,021 tons YTD through May 2017. The top five countries combined account for 81.2% of total licensed merchant imports YTD. Adding in the UK, China, Korea, Brazil and Spain totals 47,425 accounts for 95% of all merchant licenses 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.