Steel Products Prices North America

Apparent Steel Supply Flat in January at 9.4 Million Tons

Written by Brett Linton

U.S. apparent steel supply levels slipped 1% from December to January, down 120,000 net tons to 9.36 million tons, according to the latest U.S. Department of Commerce and American Iron and Steel Institute data. Recall that just last September, the market saw the highest monthly supply level in over six years (9.92 million tons).

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.

Apparent supply for 2022 totaled 110.3 million tons, up 22% from 90.3 million tons in 2021, and up 1% from 109.5 million tons in 2019. In Steel Market Update’s 13-year data history, 2014 holds the annual record at 119.5 million tons.

January apparent supply is 1.35 million tons higher than the same month one year ago, when supply was 8.01 million tons. This 17% improvement was primarily due to a 1.0-million-ton increase in finished steel imports and a 337,000-ton rise in domestic shipments, the sum of which was slightly reduced by a 20,000-ton increase in total exports. The net trade balance between U.S. steel imports and exports was at a surplus of 2.35 million tons imported in January, 604,000 tons higher than one year prior. Finished steel imports accounted for 25% of apparent steel supply in January, up from 16% this time last year.

Compared to the month prior when apparent supply was 9.48 million tons, January supply declined by 120,000 tons. This 1% decrease was due to a 114,000-ton decline in domestic shipments and a 37,000-ton increase in total exports, partially negated by a 31,000-ton increase in finished steel imports. The net trade balance between imports and exports in January rose 5% from December, and the percentage of apparent steel supply composed of finished steel imports increased 1%.

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

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