Following a rise in shipments during November 2016, North American service centers registered some sharp declines for steel and aluminum deliveries during December, though inventory levels continued to fall during the same period. The data is drawn from the Metals Service Center Institute’s Monthly Activity Report.
MSCI tracks steel and aluminum delivery totals from service centers in the U.S. and Canada. Service center shipments correspond to a substantial volume of the metals consumed by machine shops, fabricators, and other manufacturers, and the activities at those operations are a reflection of industrial activity in the North America.
Steel shipments by U.S. service centers fell 12.6% from November to December, totaling 2.58 million tons. That figure is 6.9% lower than the comparable December 2015 shipment total.
The U.S. centers’ daily shipping rate for steel products fell by 17,700 tons from November to December.
For the full 12 months of 2016, U.S. centers steel shipments totaled 37.36 million tons, a 6.3% decline versus the January-December 2015 total.
Steel inventories at U.S. service centers reportedly totaled 7.22 million tons at the end of December, up slightly (2.7%) from the November inventory total, but 13.0% less than the December 2015 inventory level. At their current rate of deliveries, U.S. service centers are holding a 2.8-month supply, according to MSCI’s estimate.