Steel Products Prices North America

Apparent Steel Supply Dips 1.8 Percent in April

Written by Brett Linton

May apparent steel supply fell 1.8 percent over April to 9,654,200 net tons, according to the data released late last week. Although down, supply remains strong in comparison to the last three years. Apparent steel supply is calculated by adding domestic steel shipments and finished U.S. steel imports, then subtracting total U.S. steel exports.

May apparent steel supply saw a 372,754 ton or 4.0 percent increase compared to the same month one year ago. This change was primarily due to an increase in domestic shipments of 395,397 tons or 5.2 percent and a decrease in exports of 148,414 tons or 14.8 percent. A 171,056 ton or 6.5 percent decrease in finished imports lessened the overall rise in apparent steel supply.

The net trade balance between U.S. steel imports and exports was a surplus of 2,071,979 tons imported in May, down 28.4 percent or 821,004 tons from the prior month, and down 15.8 percent or 388,605 tons from one year ago. Foreign steel imports accounted for 25.4 percent of apparent steel supply in May, down from 29.4 percent last month and down from 28.3 percent one year ago.

Compared to the prior month when apparent steel supply was 9,829,298 tons, May supply fell by 175,098 tons or 1.8 percent. This was due to a decrease in finished imports of 436,470 tons or 15.1 percent and an increase in domestic shipments of 258,040 tons or 3.3 percent. Total exports fell 3,331 tons or 0.4 percent.

The table below shows year-to-date totals for each statistic over the last five years. 2018 data remains steady to higher compared to the previous two years, and flat to down over 2014 and 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.

Brett Linton

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