US import licence applications rise in October

Steel imports are poised to halt a five-month slide and jump 10.7% from September to October thanks to gains in line pipe, hot-dipped galvanized products and hot-rolled coil.

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Steel license applications hit 2.45 million tonnes in October, up from 2.21 million tonnes in September, according to data updated on Tuesday, November 6 from the US Department of Commerce’s Import Administration division. October’s figures are also higher than the 2.1 million tonnes tallied in the year-ago period.

Line pipe imports grew 61.6% to 227,889 tonnes due to increases from South Korea, Canada, Turkey and the United Kingdom, while hot-rolled coil also saw a 10.4% gain in October.

While traders say that most foreign hot-rolled spot business is unavailable in the US market, most of that gain was due to Australia’s rise from zero tonnes in September to 26,949 tonnes in October, as well the Netherlands’ increase from 8,470 tonnes in September to 30,244 tonnes in October.

Imports of hot-dipped galvanized coil and strip products jumped 15.6% to 164,823 tonnes in October as a result of imports from China and India.

“Galvanized [coil] from India and China is always available, but it’s only competitive in the real light gauges,” one trader said. “The domestic mills have been expensive on light-gauge product.”

In addition, imports of rebar jumped to 70,374 tonnes from 41,478 tonnes in September. Most of the gains were from Turkey, which offset a slight decrease from Mexico.

Declines were registered in cut-to-length plate, which dropped 11.4% to 85,810 tonnes after a major decline from South Korea.