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Service Center Steel, Aluminum Shipments Rose in February

March 21, 2016
Shipments of steel and aluminum products from North American service centers increased in volume from January to February, while inventories improved in most cases. Even so, the year-over-year and year-to-date shipment totals continue to lag the 2015 dates.

Shipments of steel and aluminum products from North American service centers increased in volume from January to February, while inventories improved in most cases. Even so, the year-over-year and year-to-date shipment totals continue to lag the 2015 rates. The results are contained in the latest monthly Metals Activity Report issued by the Metal Service Center Institute.

MSCI’s Metals Activity Report details shipment and inventory totals for steel and aluminum at service centers in the U.S. and Canada. Service center shipments correspond to a substantial volume of the metals consumed by machine shops and fabricators, and the activities at those operations are a reflection of industrial activity in the North America.

U.S. service centers shipped 3.18 million tons of steel products during February, 4.1% more than during January but 4.8% less than during February 2015. The daily shipping rate declined slightly from January, down by 1,300 tons to 151,400 tons/day. For the first two months of 2016, the U.S. service centers have shipped 6.23 million tons of steel products, which is 9.1% less than the two-month total for 2015.

Steel inventory levels at U.S. service centers declined 1.4% from January to 7.8 million tons. That represents a 20.6% decline from the year-ago steel inventory total. At their current shipping rate, MSCI estimated the U.S. service centers have a 2.5-month supply of steel products in stock.

Canadian service centers shipped 396,900 tons of steel products during February, 1.8% more than during January and 2.0% more than during February 2015. The daily shipping rate fell by 600 tons/day from January, to 18,900 tons/day. Year-to-date, the Canadian centers have shipped 786,500 tons of steel products, which is 1.0% less than the January-February 2015 aluminum shipment total.

Inventories for steel products at Canadian centers declined 3.0% from January, holding now at 1.21 million tons. That figure represents a 21.6% decline from the centers’ February 2015 steel inventory level. At their current shipping rate, Canadian service centers are estimated to be holding a 3.1-month supply of steel products.

U.S. service centers shipped 128,000 tons of aluminum products during February, 4.0% more than during January and 0.4% less than during February 2015. The daily shipping rate remained unchanged from the previous month at 6,100 tons/day. Year-to-date, the service centers have shipped 251,000 tons of aluminum products, which is 3.0% less than the January-February 2015 shipment total.

Inventories for aluminum products at U.S. centers declined 0.9% from January, holding now at 378,300 tons. That figure represents a 7.7% drop from the February 2015 inventory level. At their current shipping rate, U.S. service centers are estimated to be holding a 3.0-month supply of aluminum products.

In Canada, service centers’ February aluminum products shipment rose 5.1% from January to 10,300 tons, though that figure is 4.7% less than the February 2015 total. The daily shipping rate remained unchanged at 500 tons/day. The year-to-date total for aluminum products shipments is now 20,200 tons, which is down 10.0% from the January-February 2015 total.

Canadian centers’ aluminum products inventories increased 5.2% from January to 32,100 tons, though that figure is down 17.9 compared to the February 2015 inventory total. At the current shipping rate, MSCI estimated the Canadian centers have a 3.1-month supply of aluminum products.

American Machinist is an IndustryWeek companion site within Penton's Manufacturing & Supply Chain Group.

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