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Steel beam imports up sharply in Oct.: Commerce

Keywords: Tags  steel beams, U.S. imports, Commerce Dept, import license applications, South Korea, Spain, Russia, Luxembourg Evraz Group SA

NEW YORK — Steel beam imports were on track to jump 53.1 percent month over month in October, paced by higher arrivals from one ongoing offshore source and two that have been absent for most of this year.

Import license applications for October for wide-flange and standard beams totaled 35,092 tonnes vs. preliminary imports of 22,914 tons in September, according to Commerce Department data.

For October, South Korean applications rose 44.5 percent to 10,065 tonnes from September’s preliminary arrivals of 6,967 tonnes, while those from Luxembourg, another major beam exporter, were down 42.8 percent in October to 6,769 tonnes.

However, Spain—which in recent months has barely registered in U.S. beam import stats and logged no arrivals in September—applied for imports of 8,529 tonnes of standard beams in October. Sources believe those beams arrived mostly in the Gulf region; one estimate of their price on an ex-dock basis was $700 per ton ($35 per hundredweight). Market observers noted the Spanish beams were likely sold when the domestic price was higher.

The average unit value of the Spanish beams—roughly their cost of production—was listed by the Commerce Department at $632.76 per tonne (about $574.19 per ton), lower than any other country in either the standard or wide-flange categories.

Meanwhile, license applications in October for 4,342 tonnes of Russian beams, none of which arrived in September, have raised the biggest questions. Market sources said these beams appeared to be exported chiefly by Evraz Group SA of Russia to its Evraz Inc. North America unit in Portland, Ore. These beams, as well as about 2,000 tonnes of beams that arrived earlier in the year, haven’t yet been offered widely for sale, sources said; moreover, it appears the Russian beams are mainly 40-foot lengths, which could limit their marketability.

An Evraz NA spokeswoman couldn’t be reached for comment.

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