U.S. Service Centers Increased Shipments in October

Canadian centers see mixed results for steel, aluminum

U.S. metal service centers increased their shipment volumes for steel and aluminum from September to October, and inventories for both metals increased according to the Metals Service Center Institute’s monthly data. However, Canadian centers reported overall shipments fell and inventories of steel (but not aluminum) rose during October.

U.S. metals service centers’ October steel shipments amounted to nearly 2.62 million tons, a 2.3% rise from September and a -28% decline from October 2008 shipments. For the first 10 months of 2009, U.S. service center steel shipments are down -40.1% compared to last year.

U.S. service centers’ steel inventories are now reported to be 5.93 million tons, a 2.3% rise over September and a -40.9% decline from October 2008. At current shipping rates, MSCI concludes that U.S. service centers are carrying a 2.3-month supply of steel.

Canadian service centers’ October steel shipments totaled 431,400 tons, -5.3% below the September shipment total and -21.4% below the October 2008 level. For the first 10 months of 2009, steel shipments totaled 4.16 million tons or -29.5% below the January-October 2008 period.

At the end of the month, Canada’s centers had 971,700 tons of steel in inventory, 1.5% above their September inventory volume, and -28.4% less than the October 2008 inventory total. At their current shipping rate, Canadian service centers have a 2.3-month supply of steel.

As for aluminum products, U.S. service centers’ October shipments totaled 92,500 tons, up 7.0% rise from September but down -36.1% versus October 2008. For the first 10 months of 2009 U.S. centers’ aluminum shipments total 879,000 tons, -41.1% versus the comparable period of 2008.

U.S. centers’ aluminum inventories were reported to be 257,900 tons as October ended, up 1.2% versus September and -40.5% compared to October 2008.

At their current shipping rates, U.S. aluminum inventories represent a 2.8-month supply.

Canadian service centers’ October aluminum shipments amounted to 11,000 tons, -1% less than September’s total and -23.7% less than October 2008 shipments. For 2009’s first 10 months, Canada’s service centers have shipped 107,200 tons or -25.2% less than during the comparable period of 2008.

Aluminum inventories at Canada’s service centers totaled 26,600 tons at the end of October, a -7.4% decline from September and a -26.8% decline from October 2008. These aluminum inventories are to a 2.4-month supply at current shipping rates.

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