U.S. Mills Export 1.2 Million Tons in September
The U.S. steel industry exported 1,100,063 metric tons (1,212,610 short tons) of steel products during the month of September 2011 according to data released by the U.S. Department of Commerce on Monday. The 1.2 million tons is the highest level of exports during the past 12 months and is the 7th consecutive month exports have exceeded 1 million short tons (all products).
Canada continues to be our largest steel trading partner garnering 47% of total exports out of the U.S. steel mills. Mexico is second with almost 27% of exports going south of the border. Combined our NAFTA partners took 895,378 short tons of the 1.2 million short tons exported (74%).
The most widely exported products are: plates in cut-lengths = 104,088 short tons; structural shapes heavy = 102,475 short tons; hot-dipped galvanized = 102,890 short tons; plates in coils = 94,284 short tons; cold rolled = 83,096 short tons; hot rolled = 89,991 short tons.
Also of note to our flat rolled readers: Other metallic coated (mostly Galvalume) = 24,128 short tons; Oil Country Tubular Goods = 45,296 short tons; Pipe & Tube (non-classified) = 45,307 short tons.
September 2011 Exports Up Over Prior Month
Exports have improved during the month of September 2011 compared to the prior month. The largest increases in the products we watch on a consistent basis are: cold rolled – up 39%, hot rolled up 30% and “other metallic” which is Galvalume/Aluminized up 10%. The areas where exports dropped where structural pipe and tube down 19%, plates in cut lengths down 10% and hot dipped galvanized down 4%.
OK – so what does all this mean?
As you can see by the graph below – exports of flat rolled steel products out of the U.S. steel mills have been growing during calendar year 2011 – with the exception of hot rolled which for the year is down but during the month of September was above the average for the year. The strongest export product in the flat rolled space continues to be hot-dipped galvanized. Tonnage shown on this graph is metric tons not short tons.
To go into a little more detail – looking at not only the four flat rolled products shown above but also plates; structural pipe and tube;, blooms, billets and slabs and total steel products with a longer historical view in order to get back to the pre-2008 time period – 2011 is shaping up to be a decent year for U.S. exports.