Steel Products Prices North America

September Apparent Steel Supply at 9.1 Million Tons

Written by Brett Linton

September apparent steel supply declined to 9,101,986 net tons, according to government data released late last week. This is the third lowest level of the year, above only February (8.8 million tons) and June (8.9 million tons). Apparent steel supply is calculated by adding domestic steel shipments and finished U.S. steel imports, then subtracting total U.S. steel exports.

September apparent steel supply saw a 42,662 ton or 0.5 percent decrease compared to the same month one year ago. This change was due to a decrease in finished imports of 613,312 tons or 24.6 percent, mostly counteracted by an increase in domestic shipments of 252,120 tons or 3.3 percent and a decrease in total exports of 318,530 tons or 35.3 percent.

The net trade balance between U.S. steel imports and exports was a surplus of 1,676,954 tons imported in September, down 505,853 tons or 23.2 percent from the prior month, and down 711,106 tons or 29.8 percent from one year ago. Foreign steel imports accounted for 20.6 percent of apparent steel supply in September, down from 20.7 percent in the prior month, and down from 27.2 percent one year ago.

Compared to the prior month when apparent steel supply was 9,828,339 tons, September supply fell by 726,354 tons or 7.4 percent. This was due to a decrease in domestic shipments of 629,852 tons or 7.5 percent and a decrease in finished imports of 158,336 tons or 7.8 percent, slightly lessened by a decrease in total exports of 61,834 tons or 9.6 percent.

The table below shows year-to-date totals for each statistic over the last five years. The 2018 data was previously steady to higher compared to the prior two years, but has been mixed since August.

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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