Steel Products Prices North America

Apparent Steel Supply Rises in August

Written by Brett Linton

August apparent steel supply rose to 9,625,558 net tons, the highest level seen since April of this year, according to data from the American Iron and Steel Institute and U.S. Department of Commerce. Apparent steel supply, a proxy for demand, is determined by adding domestic steel shipments and finished U.S. steel imports, then subtracting total U.S. steel exports.

August apparent steel supply saw a 202,781 ton decrease (2.1 percent) compared to the same month one year ago. This change was primarily due to a decrease in finished imports, as domestic shipments and exports changed less than 1 percent.

The net trade balance between U.S. steel imports and exports was a surplus of 1,368,353 tons imported in August, down 43.2 percent from the prior month and down 42.7 percent from one year ago. This was down due to the surge of semifinished products imported in the previous month. Finished steel imports accounted for 18.7 percent of apparent steel supply in August, down from 19.9 percent in July, and down from 20.7 percent one year ago.

Compared to the prior month when apparent steel supply was 9,351,701 tons, August supply rose by 273,858 tons (2.9 percent). This was primarily due to a 356,985 ton increase in domestic shipments, while a 52,888 ton decline in finished imports and a 30,240 ton rise in total exports lessened the overall increase in apparent steel supply.

The figure below shows year-to-date totals for each statistic over the last five years. Apparent steel supply remains on the high side this year compared to previous years, as do domestic shipments and semifinished imports. Total imports remain mixed for 2019, while finished imports are marginally down and exports are down significantly.

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

Read more from Brett Linton

Latest in Steel Products Prices North America