Up 25.2 percent from a year earlier to surpass 1 million net tons
More than half of the 1,006,088 net tons of exports in May – 572,068 net tons – were sent to Canada. This total was 31.7 percent more than in April and 38 percent more than in May 2016. Monthly exports to Mexico, though, dipped 3.7 percent from the previous month, to 321,435 net tons, which was 5.5 percent higher than a year earlier. The European Union took in 40,907 net tons of steel from the United States in May, which was 57.8 percent more than in April and 62.2 percent more than in the previous May.
From January to May, total steel exports increased 13.3 percent to 4.46 million net tons. This included 2.26 million net tons of exports to Canada (12.2 percent higher than the total during the same time last year), 1.7 million net tons to Mexico (14 percent higher), and 157,368 net tons to the European Union (56.1 percent higher).
With both imports and exports rising by double digits through the first five months of the year, it is clear that this is not a zero-sum game, that domestic manufacturers can do very well even as the nation relies partly on imports for its steel needs. In addition, the capability utilization rate of domestic mills has risen by more than 2 percentage points this year to 74.5 percent, according to the American Iron and Steel Institute, further illustrating the health of American steel companies. As the Department of Commerce continues its Section 232 investigation of the potential impact of steel imports on national security, it would do well to take note of how much stronger U.S. firms have become even as imports have increased to meet the demands of a growing economy.