Steel Products Prices North America

September Steel Exports Fall to 16-Year Low

Written by Brett Linton

U.S. steel exports in September totaled 584,858 net tons (530,575 metric tons), down 9.6 percent from August and down 35.3 percent from September 2017. Surpassing August’s low, this is now the lowest total monthly export figure seen since December 2002 when 527,659 tons were shipped out of the country.

Prior to the last three months, total exports had averaged around 850,000 tons per month for more than a year, with the only sub-800,000 total in December 2017.

The total September export figure is below both the three-month moving average (average of July 2018, August 2018 and September 2018) and the 12-month moving average (average of October 2017 through September 2018). That is also the case for each flat rolled and plate product in the table below. Here is a breakdown by product:

Cut plate exports decreased 10.1 percent from August to 67,453 tons, and were down 29.6 percent compared to levels one year ago. This is the lowest level in SMU’s eight-year recorded history.

Exports of coiled plate were 19,558 tons in September, down 28.1 percent month over month, and down 57.2 percent year over year. This is also the lowest level in our limited history.

Hot rolled steel exports fell 24.9 percent month over month to 35,480 tons, and were down 66.7 percent from September 2017 levels, also to the lowest level SMU has recorded.

Exports of cold rolled products were 40,219 tons in September, down 23.9 percent from August, and down 30.4 percent over the same month last year. The last time cold rolled exports were this low was December 2017 at 39,599 tons.

Galvanized exports fell 7.0 percent month over month to 105,209 tons. Compared to one year ago, September levels were down 14.7 percent. This is about 10,000 tons lower than the average export level seen in 2018.

Exports of all other metallic coated products came in at 18,352 tons, an 8.8 percent decrease from August, and a 12.2 percent decrease compared to one year ago. The last time exports of other metallic coated products were this low was December 2017 at 17,790 tons.

To see an interactive graphic of our steel imports history through final September data (example below), visit our website here. If you need any assistance logging in or navigating the site, contact us at or 800-432-3475.

Brett Linton

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