Steel Products Prices North America

May Apparent Steel Supply Up 3.7% Over April, Down 1.2% YOY

Written by Brett Linton

According to the latest data released from the U.S. Department of Commerce and the American Iron and Steel Institute, apparent steel supply for the month of May 2016 was 8,957,525 net tons. Apparent steel supply is calculated by adding domestic steel shipments and finished US steel imports, then subtracting total US steel exports.

May apparent steel supply represents a 112,016 ton or 1.2 percent decrease compared to the same month one year ago when apparent steel supply was 9,069,541 tons. Although a relatively small change, there was a 486,768 ton or 6.8 percent increase in domestic shipments, a 665,418 ton or 24.1 percent decline in finished U.S. steel imports, and a decrease in total U.S. steel exports of 66,635 tons or 7.7 percent compared to 12 months prior.

The net trade balance between US steel imports and exports was a surplus of +2,072,894 tons imported in May 2016, 455,254 tons or 18.0 percent less than that of May 2015. Foreign steel imports accounted for 23.4 percent of apparent steel supply, down 7.0 percent over the same month one year ago.

SMU Note: Our Premium Level apparent steel supply analysis goes into much more detail as we provide data on apparent steel supply for flat and long products. We will publish this analysis to our Premium level members later this week.

When compared to last month when apparent steel supply was at 8,634,917 tons, May supply increased by 322,608 tons or 3.7 percent. This is primarily attributed to a 3.8 percent or 282,649 ton increase in domestic shipments and and a rise in finished imports of 2.4 percent or 48,886 tons. Total exports increased 1.1 percent or 8,928 tons.

The table below shows year to date totals for each statistic over the last five years. Note that these averages are calculated through the first five months of the year. 2016 figures so far remain lower than most of the previous years for all items listed.

To see an interactive graphic of our Apparent Steel Supply history, visit the Apparent Steel Supply page in the Analysis section of the SMU website. If you need any assistance logging in or navigating the website, contact us at or 800-432-3475.

Brett Linton

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