Steel Products Prices North America

July Apparent Steel Supply Reaches 30-Month High

Written by Brett Linton

July apparent steel supply increased 312,000 tons over June to 9.70 million net tons, according to the latest U.S. Department of Commerce and American Iron and Steel Institute data. This is now the highest supply level seen since January 2019, a 30-month record. July supply is up 2.73 million tons compared to the same month one year ago.

Apparent steel supply, a proxy for demand, is determined by combining domestic steel mill shipments and finished U.S. steel imports, then deducting total U.S. steel exports.

July apparent supply is up 39.1% compared to the same month last year, when supply was 6.97 million tons. This increase was primarily due to an increase in domestic shipments of 2.24 million tons, followed by a 733,000-ton increase in finished imports, slightly negated by a 249,000-ton increase in exports. The net trade balance between U.S. steel imports and exports rose to a surplus of 2.32 million tons imported in July, up 5.5% from one year prior. Finished steel imports accounted for 22.4% of apparent steel supply in July, up 1.7% from one year ago.

Compared to the month prior when the apparent supply was 9.38 million tons, July supply rose by 312,000 tons or 3.3%. This increase was primarily due to a 247,000-ton increase in domestic shipments, followed by a 42,000-ton increase in finished imports and a 22,000-ton decrease in exports. The net trade balance between imports and exports in July rose 7.9% from June, while the percentage of apparent steel supply composed of finished steel imports declined 0.3%.

The figure below shows year-to-date averages for each statistic over the last five years. The average monthly apparent supply level for the first seven months of 2021 has greatly improved compared to the 2020 average but is 440,000-560,000 tons lower compared to the monthly averages of all previous years shown.

To see an interactive graphic of our Apparent Steel Supply history (example shown below), visit the Apparent Steel Supply page in the Analysis section of the SMU website. If you need any assistance logging into or navigating the website, contact us at

By Brett Linton,

Brett Linton

Read more from Brett Linton

Latest in Steel Products Prices North America