For all of 2017, Beam final imports to the U.S. were down 4.3% year on year (y/y), totaling 534,488 tons. For the month of December, Beam imports totaled 33,431 tons down 24.9% from the YTD average of 44,540 tons. Wide flange beams accounted for 66.2% of total beam imports, while standard beams accounted for 33.7%.

beam-finalimport-fig1Figure 1 charts the largest exporting countries in rank order through December for both 2016 and 2017. Korea was the largest exporter at 158,168 tons to the U.S., up 8.1% y/y. For the month of December, Korea’s volume was 13,695 tons, 3.9% higher than its YTD average of 13,181 tons. Luxembourg sent 128,918 tons, up 15.1% y/y. For the month of December, Luxembourg’s volume was 3,778 tons 64.8% lower than its average of 10,743 tons. Spain ranked third with 96,713 tons, down 16.0% y/y. For the month of December, Spain’s’ beam exports were 5,965 tons, 26.0% below its 12 month average of 8,059 tons. The three country total of Korea, Luxembourg and Spain accounted for 71.8%, (383,799 tons) of U.S. beam imports in 2017.

The United Kingdom exported 35,362 tons, surging 70.8% over its 2016 tonnage. Volume in December was 1,308 tons, 55.6% less than its YTD average of 2,947 tons. Mexico, sent 27,433 tons of beams to the U.S. in 2017, down 19.1% y/y. In December, Mexico’s volume was 2,298 tons, very close to its average for the year. Canada was the next largest with 24,770 tons, up 3.0% y/y. Volume for the month of December was 1,498 tons, 27.4% less than its 2,064 ton 2017 average.

The UAE sent 19,003 tons of beams to the U.S. last year, up 26.8% y/y. Shipment volumes have been very erratic ranging from zero tons shipped in February and April and July to 6,252 tons in January. The UAEs December volume was 18 tons, well off its average of 1,584 tons. Taiwan shipped 19,319 tons in 2017, down 23.9% y/y. Taiwan exported 4,421 tons of beams in December, nearly three times its 1,610 ton average for the year.

Germany exported 14,378 tons through December, down 26.2% y/y. December volume of 434 tons, was 63.8% less than its 2017 average tonnage of 1,198 tons. China sent 7,201 tons in 2017, up 257% y/y. December’s export volume zero after just seven tons in November, well down from its average of 600 tons per month for the year. Brazil rounded out the top ten beam exporters with exported 2,289 tons of beams to the U.S. for the year 2017, up 129% y/y. Brazil has only exported 52 tons over the past five months. December’s volume was zero.

Nine other countries exported a combined total of 934 tons, of beams to the U.S. market in 2017. This is substantially lower than the 43,535 tons exported from the same countries in 2016. In 2016 YTD, Russia shipped 34,833 tons of beams to the U.S., while Japan shipped 5,257 tons. Thus far in 2017 Russia shipped 274 tons, while Japan shipped 437 tons.

Houston-Galveston was the largest receiving port, offloading 109,758 tons in 2017, off 0.9% y/y. December’s volume rebounded 6,730 after only 158 tons in November. Los Angeles held the number two spot with 108,283 tons, up 2.8% y/y. Volume for December rebounded to 11,484 tons after only 44 tons in November. Boston ranked third with 45,510 tons up 4.0% y/y. December volume was 560 tons. Philadelphia was the next largest port bringing in 37,756 tons, a decrease of 1.5% y/y. Philadelphia’s December exports totaled 1,752 tons. Mobile received 27,780 tons, down 47.0% y/y. December tons were 1,106.

Detroit took in 26,250 tons in 2017, a 5.3% y/y increase. Detroit offloaded 1,966 tons in December. San Francisco landed 19,591 tons of U.S. Beams, a 9.3% y/y increase. December, (and November) beam exports to San Francisco were zero. Laredo TX landed 19,435 tons, dropping 20.1% y/y. December volume was 1,756 tons. Chicago offloaded 16,918 tons, down 1.1% y/y. Zero tons were received in November and December. New Orleans, took-in 15,256 tons, a 144% y/y increase. Zero tons were received in November and December. Columbia-Snake OR had just four months of receipts in 2017, totaling 17,727 tons, off 24.4% y/y. December tonnage was 3,640. Duluth unloaded 13,435 tons, down 4.8% y/y. Zero tons were received in November and December.

Twenty additional ports combined to receive 76,789 tons of beam imports in 2017, 14.4% of the total volume YTD. Beams imports in 2016 from the same 20 country’s was 70,177, 12.5% of 2016 volume.

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.