Metal Service Centers Still Selling from Inventories

Aug. 18, 2009
North American steel, aluminum shipments still down sharply versus 2008

North American metals service centers report that their inventories of steel and aluminum declined in July. The Metals Service Center Institute, which compiles the shipment and inventory data from its members in the monthly Metals Activity Report, concludes that ongoing destocking in both the United States and Canada was underscored by continuing year­over­year shipment declines for both metals, although the rate of decline narrowed most significantly in Canada.

The Metals Activity Report is based on data from collected from metals service centers in the U.S. and Canada.

U.S. service centers steel shipments totaled 2.5 million tons in July, or 39.4% less than during July 2008. For the January-July 2009 period, U.S. service center steel shipments totaled nearly 17.3 million tons, a 43.3% decline from the same seven-month period of 2008.

MSCI reports that U.S. centers steel inventories totaled 5.7 million tons at the end of July, 47.7% less than at the end of July 2008, and indicating a 2.3-month supply at the current shipping rate.

Canadian centers steel shipments in July totaled 398,500 tons, 23.8% less than in July 2008. For the first seven months of 2009, Canadian steel shipments amounted to about 2.9 million tons, 33.7% less than January-July 2008. End-of-July inventories were reported at 999,000 tons, down 35.4% from the end of July 2008 and equal to a 2.5-month supply at current shipping rates.

U.S. service centers aluminum products shipments in July totaled 89,700 tons, down 39% from July 2008. For the year to date, U.S. metal centers shipments totaled 614,200 tons, down 42.6% January-July 2008.

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