Service Center Steel, Aluminum Shipments Dropped in December

2010 totals show U.S., Canadian centers rebounded from previous year

Metals service centers in the U.S. posted significant declines in shipment volumes for steel and aluminum during December 2010, though the fall-off was less severe in Canada. However, the full-year results show uniformly solid improvements over the recession-bound results of the previous year.

Metals service centers in the U.S. and Canada posted significant declines in shipment volumes for steel and aluminum during December 2010, though their full-year results show uniformly solid improvements over the recession-bound results of the previous year.

The Metals Service Center Institute reports the monthly Metals Activity Report based on actual data from its 370 members’ over 1,200 service centers across North America.

Steel service centers in the U.S. shipped more than 2.8 million tons of products during December, a drop of 5.7% from November shipment totals and fifth consecutive month of declining steel shipments. Even so, the month’s results represented a 25.6% improvement over December 2009.

The U.S. centers’ total shipments of steel for 2010 were 35.6 million tons, a 20.6% rise over 2009’s 29.6 million tons total.

At the end of December, U.S. service centers had steel inventories totaling 7.71 million tons, an increase 25.6% above the December 2009 inventory level and equal to a 2.7-month supply and at the current shipping rates.

In Canada, metals service centers shipped 380,800 tons of steel products during December, a 25.7% fall-off from the November total. The latest month represents an 18.1% improvement over December 2009, however, and it brings the Canadian centers’ 2010 steel shipments total to 5.6 million tons.

Canadian steel inventories at the end of December amounted to 1.39 million tons, 34% more than the December 2009 inventory level and equal to a 3.7- month supply at current shipping rates.

Aluminum shipments from U.S. centers fell 9.0% from November to December, to 100,300 tons. The total represented a 26.8% improvement over December 2009 totals, however, and the12-month shipment volume rose to 1.03 million tons for 2010, a 25.8% rise over the 2009 result.

The U.S. centers reported aluminum inventories of 347,900 tons as the month ended, 33.5% more than were held one year ago, and equal to a 3.5-month supply at the current shipping rate.

The Canadian centers’ shipped 9,000 tons of aluminum during December, a decline of 28.6% from November but a rise of 16.7% from December 2009. The Canadian service centers shipped a total of 135,200 tons of aluminum during 2010, which represented a 7.7% improvement over 2009’s 12-month total.

As Decmember ended, Canadian service centers had aluminum inventories of 31,300 tons, 7.2% more than December 2009 inventories and equal to a 3.5-month supply at the current shipping rate.

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