Steel Products Prices North America

January Steel Exports Recover 6% from December Dip, 12MMA Remains Strong

Written by Brett Linton

U.S. steel exports rose 6% in January to 691,000 net tons, a partial recovery following December’s 10% drop, according to the latest U.S. Department of Commerce data. While the last few months have seen declining export levels, the 12-month moving average through January has reached a 34-month high. January exports are 3% higher than levels seen one year ago.

As shown in the graph below, March and June of 2021 saw the two highest monthly export levels in the last three years (790,000 and 778,000 tons, respectively), while May 2020 saw a 24-year low of 374,000 tons.

US Steel Exports

Of our six monitored product groups in January, five increased month-over-month.

US Steel Exports

Recall that total exports for 2021 totaled 8.77 million tons, averaging 731,000 tons per month. That’s up from a monthly average of 591,000 tons in 2020, up from an average of 648,000 tons in 2019, yet down from an average of 775,000 tons in 2018.

On a rolling 12-month average, January exports have now reached a 34-month high of 732,000 tons (recall August 2020’s record low 12MMA of 577,000 tons).

US Steel Exports

Total January exports are in line with the three-month moving average (average of November 2020 through January 2021), and 6% below the 12-month moving average (average of February 2020 through January 2021). Here is a detailed breakdown by product:

Cut-to-length plate exports increased 3% from December to 84,595 tons, down 9% compared to one year ago.

Exports of coiled plate were 45,132 tons in January, down 14% from the prior month, and down 5% from levels this time last year.

January hot rolled steel exports were up 4% from December at 67,173 tons, up 32% from one year prior.

Exports of cold rolled products were 55,994 tons in January, up 1% from December and up 42% from the same time last year.

Galvanized exports increased 12% month over month to 114,364 tons. Compared to levels one year ago, January was up just 49 tons.

Exports of all other metallic-coated products were 24,522 tons, up 19% from December and up 13% year-over-year.

We have an interactive graphing tool available on our website here where readers can further investigate historical export data in total and by product. Two examples are shown below. If you need assistance logging into or navigating the website, contact us at

US Steel Exports

US Steel Exports

By Brett Linton,

Brett Linton

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