Wire rod licenses in May totaled 55,298 tons, down 68.8% from last month’s 177,378 tons and YTD average of 145,402 tons. Year to date (YTD), there have been a total of 727,013 tons of wire rod license requests, down 91,222 tons or 11.1% from YTD 2016.

wire-rod-fig1Figure 1 shows total wire rod 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). Prices had been relatively flat for many months prior to spiking in April before rolling back to the long-term average in May.

Figure 2merchants-fig2 charts the YTD total by country for 2016 and 2017. Canada is the largest exporter YTD, through May, with licenses totaling 198,992 tons down 12.1% from 226,354 tons YTD 2016. For the month of May Canada’s license total was well off its recent norm. May license requests were just 5,228 tons, down from 49,250 tons in April and its YTD average of 39,798 tons. Year to date, Japan was the next largest wire rod exporter to the US with 104,071 licensed tons off 31.0% YTD y/y. Japan’s license request in May was 4,183 tons down from 28,875 in April and well off its five month average of 20,814 tons. The next largest importer YTD was Ukraine with 83,402 tons, slightly less than the 85,398 YTD in 2016. For the month of May, Ukraine did not obtain any import licenses. Turkey was one of the four countries that increased its import licenses YTD y/y. Turkey’s YTD license volume was 64,899 tons, up 23.5% YTD y/y.

Turkey’s May request was for 9,388 tons of wire rod licenses, down from April’s 14,063 tons and March’s 29,262 tons. Brazil licensed import volume for May was 50,523, marginally higher than YTD 2016 level of 49,061 tons. In May Brazil only requested 20 tons of licenses well off the 9,528 tons in April and 12,625 ton January to April average. Russia’s YTD license request was for 39,027 tons, 24.3% lower than YTD 2016. Russia did not request any licenses for May. South Korea license volume plummeted YTD, requested only 16,011 tons compared to 63,799 over the same timeframe last year. Germany’s import license requests YTD moved up by 20,684 tons or 87.1% y/y to 44,416 tons. In May, Germany licensed 29,572 tons, much higher the prior four month average of 3,710 tons. Spain and the United Kingdom round out the top 10 largest exporters of wire rod. Spain licensed 27,818 tons YTD, up 29.0% y/y, while The UK licensed 21,424 tons YTD through May, down 23.1% YTD y/y.

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.