U.S. service centers’ steel and aluminum shipments declined during August, and though Canadian centers’ deliveries increased slightly, the year-to-year figures showed shipments declining even more significantly. Inventory positions declined only slightly for both metals in the United States and Canada.
The results are drawn from the Metals Service Center Institute’s Monthly Activity Report, which records results for North American processors and distributors of steel and aluminum products.
Service center shipments represent 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 3.31 million tons of steel products during August, 3.8% less than during July and 8.9% less than during August 2014. The daily shipping rate increased slightly to 157.6 tons/day, but the 27.6 million tons shipped from January to August of this year declined 5.8% versus the 2014 eight-month total.
Steel service centers’ inventories rose to 9.2 million tons, or 1.9% above the July total. MSCI estimated the U.S. centers have steel inventories as a 2.8-month supply at the present shipment rate.
In Canada, service centers’ steel shipments rose 3.6% above the July result to 428,000 tons during August, though the year-to-year comparison is down 6.3% versus August 2014’s deliveries. The daily shipping rate rose 21.4% over last August’s rate. At 3.6 million metric tons, the year-to-date delivery total is now 7.7% behind Canada’s eight-month total for 2014 steel deliveries.
At 1.55 million tons, Canadian service centers’ steel inventory totals fell 5.0% from July, but rose 3.4% from last August’s stock total. MSCI estimated that represents a 3.6-month supply at the current rate of deliveries.
Aluminum shipments by U.S. service centers fell 4.7% to 131,800 tons from July to August, and are down 2.2% from the August 2014 total. The daily aluminum-products shipment rate remained even with the July result, and year-to-date shipments slipped slightly from that result.
MSCI noted that U.S. centers’ aluminum stocks declined slightly from June, and at 396.6 million tons, the inventory is equal to a 3.0-month supply at the current rate of delivery.
Finally, Canada’s service centers shipped 13,500 tons of aluminum products during August, 0.7% more than during July and 4.3% more than during August 2014. The daily shipping rate rose, but only by 10 tons to 70 tons/day. The year-to-date total for Canadian centers shipments rose to 108,900 tons, up 1.3% versus the eight-month 2014 total.
Inventories of aluminum products in Canada rose to 42,400 tons, 2.8% higher than the August 2014 inventory total, which is a 3.1-month supply at the current delivery rate.