Steel Products Prices North America

Apparent Steel Supply Ends 2017 Down at 8.5 Million Tons

Written by Brett Linton

Apparent steel supply for the month of December 2017 showed a decline month-over-month and also year-over-year to 8,501,642 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.

December apparent steel supply saw a 120,529 ton or 1.4 percent decrease compared to the same month one year ago. This change was due to a decline in finished imports, down 250,401 tons or 11.5 percent, and a rise in total exports of 25,130 tons or 3.5 percent. An increase in domestic shipments lessened the overall decrease in apparent steel supply as they rose by 155,002 tons or 2.2 percent.

The net trade balance between U.S. steel imports and exports was a surplus of 1,698,309 tons imported in December, down from 1,879,150 tons from the prior month, and down from 1,971,403 tons one year ago. Foreign steel imports accounted for 22.6 percent of apparent steel supply in December, down from 25.1 percent last month, and down from 25.2 percent one year ago.

Compared to the prior month when apparent steel supply was 8,723,547 tons, December supply decreased by 221,905 tons or 2.5 percent. This was primarily due to a decrease in finished imports, which fell 260,893 tons or 11.9 percent. Domestic shipments also declined, down 91,699 tons or 1.2 percent. Total exports fell 130,687 tons or 14.8 percent, slightly negating the overall decrease in apparent steel supply.

The table below shows year-to-date totals for each statistic over the last five years. 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.

The total apparent steel supply average for 2017 was 9,171,331 tons, up from 8,642,135 tons in 2016, and up from 9,014,074 tons in 2015.

To see an interactive graphic of our Apparent Steel Supply history (example below), 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.

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