Steel Products Prices North America

July Apparent Steel Supply Remains High

Written by Brett Linton

Apparent steel supply for the month of July totaled 9,570,118 net tons, according to the latest data from the U.S. Department of Commerce and the American Iron and Steel Institute. Apparent steel supply is calculated by adding domestic steel shipments and finished U.S. steel imports, then subtracting total U.S. steel exports.

July apparent steel supply represents a 474,733 ton or 5.2 percent increase compared to the same month one year ago. The majority of this change came from an increase in finished imports, increasing 415,606 tons or 16.8 percent. Domestic shipments were relatively flat, up 127,543 tons or 1.7 percent. Total exports lessened the overall rise in apparent steel supply as they rose 68,416 or 9.3 percent.

The net trade balance between U.S. steel imports and exports was a surplus of +2,676,012 tons imported in July, down from +3,012,138 tons last month, but up from +2,527,953 tons one year ago. Note that last month was the highest net trade balance seen since January 2015 when it was 3,468,070 tons. Foreign steel imports accounted for 30.3 percent of apparent steel supply in July, up 3.0 percent over the same month one year ago.

When compared to last month, when apparent steel supply was 9,832,498 tons and at a 2.5-year high, July supply decreased by 262,380 tons or 2.7 percent. This was primarily due to a decrease in domestic imports, which fell 256,605 tons or 3.3 percent. Finished imports fell 110,251 tons or 3.7 percent. Total exports declined 104,476 or 11.5 percent over June, which slightly negated the overall decrease in apparent steel supply.

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 seven months of each year for an equal comparison. As was the case in previous months, the 2017 data points are higher than the 2016 figures, but are mixed compared to 2013-2015 data 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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