Steel Products Prices North America

August Apparent Steel Supply: Lowest Level Since February

Written by Brett Linton

US apparent steel supply declined 3% in August to 8.98 million net tons, according to the latest US Department of Commerce and American Iron and Steel Institute data. This is the lowest figure since February 2022 and the second lowest figure in the past 16 months. August supply levels are 4% below the average monthly rate of 9.34 million tons over the last year. Recall that supply reached a six-year high last September at 9.92 million tons and then declined each month through February.

Apparent steel supply is determined by combining domestic steel mill shipments and finished US steel imports, then deducting total US steel exports.

August apparent supply was 851,000 tons lower than the same month one year ago when supply was 9.83 million tons. This 9% decline was primarily due to a 730,000-ton decrease in domestic shipments, followed by a 84,000-ton decrease in finished imports and a 37,000-ton increase in exports. The net trade balance between US steel imports and exports was at a surplus of 1.71 million tons imported in August, 15% less than levels one year prior. Finished steel imports accounted for 23% of supply in August, up from 22% this time last year. The graphic below shows August trade statistics for each of the past three years.

Compared to July, when apparent supply was 9.23 million tons, August’s supply decreased by 256,000 tons. This 3% decline was primarily due to a 197,000-ton decrease in finished imports, followed by a 59,000-ton increase in steel exports and a 1,000-ton decrease in domestic shipments. The net trade balance between imports and exports in August fell 12% from July. The percentage of apparent steel supply composed of finished steel imports declined 1%. The graphic below shows monthly statistics over the last three months.

The figure below shows year-to-date (YTD) monthly averages for each statistic over the last five years. The average monthly apparent supply level for the first eight months of 2022 continues to improve compared to the same periods in 2020 and 2021. But it is slightly below the averages of the two years prior to that.

Projecting out the YTD monthly average supply level for 2022 yields an annual estimate of 109.6 million tons. Apparent supply for the entire year of 2021 totaled 110.3 million tons, up 22% from 90.3 million tons in 2020, 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.

To see an interactive graphic of our Apparent Steel Supply history, 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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