Steel Products Prices North America

December Steel Exports Lowest Since 2002

Written by Brett Linton

U.S. steel exports in December totaled 519,099 net tons (470,919 metric tons), down 15.7 percent from November, and down 31.0 percent from levels one year ago.

The last time total steel exports were this low was over 16 years ago, back in July 2002, when 504,621 tons of steel were exported outside of the United States. For comparison, in the first half of 2018, total exports averaged around 850,000 tons per month and had been in that ballpark since early 2017.

The total December export figure is below both the three-month moving average (average of October 2018, November 2018 and December 2018) and the 12-month moving average (average of January 2018 through December 2018). Here is a breakdown by product:

Cut plate exports decreased 13.1 percent from November to 67,229 tons, and were down 30.1 percent compared to levels one year ago. This is the lowest level we have seen in our limited history (going back to 2010).

Exports of coiled plate were 24,212 tons in December, down 23.3 percent month over month, and down 38.0 percent year over year.

Hot rolled steel was the only product with an increase in month-over-month exports, rising 19.1 percent over November to 56,567 tons, but down 22.3 percent from December 2017 levels.

Exports of cold rolled products were 45,298 tons in December, down 5.9 percent from November, but up 14.4 percent over the same month last year.

Galvanized exports fell 19.8 percent month over month to 84,916 tons. Compared to one year ago, December levels were down 5.4 percent. The last time galvanized exports were this low was December 2012 at 81,776 tons.

Exports of all other metallic coated products came in at 12,317 tons, a 36.6 percent decrease from November, and a 30.8 percent decrease compared to one year ago. This is the lowest level we have seen in our limited history.

To see an interactive graphic of our steel imports history through final December data (examples shown 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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