Service centers’ shipments of steel products increased more than 4% in both the U.S. and Canadian markets during August, but the Metal Service Center Institute noted that the year-on-year delivery volumes are less encouraging.

August Shipments Solid for Metals Service Centers

Sept. 18, 2013
Second consecutive month of shipment increases U.S. inventories decline

North American service centers increased their steel and aluminum shipment volumes during August, though the Metals Service Center Institute noted that deliveries from both U.S. and Canadian operations reverted to the slower rates that had prevailed prior to the preceding month. During July, shipments of both metals showed modest year-over-year improvements, but taken as a whole the current year is trailing the 2012 pace.

The MSCI’s Monthly Activity Report tracks shipments of steel and aluminum products from member companies in the U.S. and Canada, and measures inventory volumes.

U.S. service center shipments of steel products totaled 3,632,900 tons during August, an improvement of 4.9% over July, and the third consecutive monthly increase in tons shipped. U.S. centers shipped an average of 165.1 tons/day during the month.

However, the new total is 0.6% less than the August 2012 total, 3,653,100 tons, and brings the year-to-date total for steel products shipped to 28,170,400 tons, 3.0% less than the January-August 2012 total.

U.S. service centers reported steel product inventories totaling 7,941,200 tons as August ended, up from 7,842,800 tons at the end of July, but 11.3% less than the August 2012 inventory report. MSCI estimated that they U.S. centers have a 2.2-month supply of steel at the current delivery rate.

In Canada, service centers shipped 478,700 tons of steel products during August, 4.2% more than the July total of 459,400 tons, and an average of 22.8 tons/day for the month. Year-over-year, the Canadian centers’ shipments declined 6.8%, from 513,400 tons of steel products shipped during August 2012.

For the year-to-date, Canada’s centers shipments total is 3,889,900 tons of steel shipped, 9.3% less than the January-August shipment total.

Canadian centers’ steel product inventories were 1,388,800 tons at the end of August, falling from 1,462,600 tons at the end of July, and 14.4% less than the inventories reported at end of August 2012. MSCI estimated that Canadian centers have 2.9-months of steel in stock, at the current delivery rate.

Aluminum Steady, Too

U.S. service centers shipped 133,100 tons of aluminum products during August, 3.5% more than the July total, with average shipments totaling of 6.0 tons/day. It was the third consecutive monthly increase in shipments of aluminum, but falls short of the August 2012 total by 0.8%.

Total U.S. service center aluminum shipments during 2013 are 1,00,700 tons, trailing the January-August 2012 aluminum shipment volume by 4.6%

Inventories of aluminum at U.S. service centers were reported to be 365,000 tons, down slightly from July inventories, and down by 4.1% from the August 2012 inventory volume.

With their current stock total and the current shipping rate, U.S. service centers have an estimated 2.7 months of aluminum available.

Canadian service center’s aluminum shipments increased 2.4% from July to August , totaling 12,700 tons and averaging 600 tons/day. The year-to-date volume is 105,000 tons, which is 3.9% less than the January-August 2012 total.

Inventories of aluminum products at Canada’s service centers declined from July to August, to a reported 35,800 tons – which is 8.6% less than the August 2012 inventory report. At their current shipping rate, Canadian centers have an estimated 2.8-month supply of aluminum products.

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