SMU Data and Models

Apparent steel supply surpasses 8.5 million tons in January

Written by Brett Linton

The apparent supply of steel in the US increased in January, rising to a five-month high, according to data compiled from the US Department of Commerce and the American Iron and Steel Institute (AISI). Supply is now up to 8.55 million short tons (st) in January, 5% greater than December levels and 7% higher than November’s nine-month low.

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

Viewing supply levels on a three-month moving average (3MMA) basis can smooth out the month-to-month variability. The 3MMA through January was relatively unchanged from December at 8.21 million st. The 3MMA has been trending downward overall since peaking in late 2021.

Apparent supply in January was 3% lower than the same month one year ago when the supply was 8.84 million st. Attribute this to a decline in both domestic mill shipments and finished imports from levels one year prior. Figure 3 shows a year-over-year (y/y) comparison for the month of January across the last four years.

Looking at the last four months, apparent supply had eased to a nine-month low in November but has since increased each month since (Figure 4). This recovery is primarily due to an uptick in finished imports after November, as well as a jump in domestic shipments from December to January.

To see an interactive graphic of our apparent steel supply history, click here. If you need any assistance logging into or navigating the website, contact us at

Brett Linton

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