Steel Products Prices North America

October Apparent Steel Supply Steady at 8.7 Million Tons

Written by Brett Linton

October apparent steel supply remained steady at 8.7 million net tons, according to data from the American Iron and Steel Institute and U.S. Department of Commerce. October supply is the second lowest level seen in the last 23 months, with the lowest occuring the month prior. 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.

October apparent steel supply saw an 855,000 ton decrease (8.9 percent) compared to the same month one year ago. This change was primarily due to a 516,000 ton decrease in finished imports and a 260,000 ton decrease in domestic shipments.

The net trade balance between U.S. steel imports and exports was a surplus of 1,477,000 tons imported in October, up 14.9 percent from the prior month, but down 44.2 percent from one year ago. Finished steel imports accounted for 17.2 percent of apparent steel supply in October, down from 17.7 percent in September, and down from 21.1 percent one year ago.

Compared to the prior month when apparent steel supply was 9.7 million tons, October supply was up less than 10,000 tons. Although total supply was flat, there was a 147,000 ton rise in domestic shipments from September to October, mostly negated by a 95,000 ton decrease in exports and a 43,000 ton rise in finished imports.

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. Semifinished imports are relatively in-line in total, while total imports are marginally down. Finished imports and total 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

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