Metal Service Centers Shipments Slowed in February

U.S., Canadian steel and aluminum deliveries fall, while inventory building continues

Service centers’ shipments of steel and aluminum slowed across North America during February, according to data reported by the Metals Service Center Institute. The monthly report is based on actual shipment and inventory data supplied by metals service centers in the U.S. and Canada, and the Institute indicated that its members’ inventory-to-sales ratios rose during February, indicating that stockpiling noted during the previous month is continuing.

Service centers’ shipments of steel and aluminum slowed across North America during February, according to data reported by the Metals Service Center Institute. The monthly report is based on actual shipment and inventory data supplied by metals service centers in the U.S. and Canada, and the Institute indicated that its members’ inventory-to-sales ratios rose during February, indicating that stockpiling noted during the previous month is continuing.

MSCI also emphasized that the slowing shipment rates remain above the comparable 2010 levels.

Steel products shipments from U.S. service centers fell 6.4% from January to February, from 3.4 million to 3.197 million tons. Apart from the January total, and considering February is a short month, that latest figure was the highest monthly shipment level since August 2010. In addition, the February volume showed a 20.2% increase over February 2010’s total.

The 2011 steel shipment volume now stands at 6.61 million tons, 26.2% better than the 2010 two-month total. At the current shipping rate, U.S. service centers’ steel inventories amount to nearly 7.94 million tons of steel, equal to a 2.5-month supply.

Canada’s service centers shipped 500,300 tons in February, down 8.2% from the 545,100 tons shipped in January. However, the current total represents a 12.2% rise over February 2010 shipments.

Canadian centers’ total steel shipments for 2011 amounted to 1.05 million tons, 17.5% more than the comparable two-month total in 2011. Those operations steel inventories total 1.52 million tons, up 20.2% from February 2010 and equal to a 3.0-month supply at current shipping rates.

U.S. service centers shipped 113,300 tons of aluminum in February, a drop of 6.7% from January’s 121,400 tons shipped. The current month represents a 25.9% improvement over the February 2010 shipment volume, and it brings the current year’s aluminum shipment total to 234,600 tons, 27.8% more than the January-February 2010 period.

U.S. service centers’ aluminum inventories totaled 358,100 tons at the end of February, 37.3% above the February 2010 inventory total, and equal to 3.2-month supply at the current shipping rate.

Canadian service centers shipped 10,900 tons of aluminum in February, down 9.6% from January’s 12,000 tons, but up 5.8% from the 10,300 tons shipped in February 2010. Canada’s year-to-date aluminum shipments amount to 22,900 tons, 9.6% better than the two-month total for 2010. Canadian centers’ aluminum inventories at the end of February totaled 30,400 tons, 0.5% less than at the same point one year ago, and equal to a 2.8-month supply at current shipping rates.

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