Shipments of steel and aluminum by service centers decreased “substantially” in the U.S. and Canada in the latest recent month-to-month and year-to-year comparisons from the Metals Service Center Institute. During the same period, inventory levels remained essentially even.
Service center shipments represent a substantial volume of the material consumed by machine shops and fabricators. The Metals Service Center Institute reports monthly steel and aluminum shipment and inventor totals for operations in the U.S. and Canada. The Metals Activity Report records absolute tonnages as well as daily shipping rates and inventory volumes.
According to MSCI, U.S. service centers shipped 3.28 million tons of steel products during May, a total that is 5.4% less than the April result, but 12.6% less than the May 2014 result. The new tonnage brings the U.S. centers total 2015 shipments (five months) to 17.3 million tons, 5.4% less than during the comparable five-month period of 2014.
At the close of May, U.S. service centers reported steel inventories totaling 9.34 million tons, 1.5% less than the April inventory total and 11.0% more than the May 2014 inventory total. At their current shipment rate, U.S. service centers are carrying a 2.8-month supply of steel.
Canadian service centers shipped 434.6 thousand tons of steel during May, 6.3% less than their April steel shipments and 14.7% less than their May 2014 steel shipments. Their five-month steel shipment total for the current year is now 2.25 thousand metric tons, 8.2% less than the during the January-May 2014 period.
Canada’s centers’ steel inventories slipped 2.7% from April to May, to 1.71 thousand tons, which is 23.6% higher than the May 2014 inventory total. At their current rate of deliveries, Canada’s steel service centers are carrying a 3.9-month supply.
As for aluminum, U.S. centers shipped 131,400 tons of the light metal during May, 6.4% less than during April and 3.3% less than during May 2014. The year-to-date aluminum shipment total for U.S. service centers is now 671,400 tons, just 0.6% higher than the five-month total for 2014.
Aluminum inventory totals at U.S. service centers rose only negligibly from April to May, but at 398,100 tons of aluminum the current inventory total is 2.7% higher than at it was at the comparable point of last year. U.S. service centers are carrying a 3.0-month supply of steel at their current rate of deliveries, MSCI estimated.
Canada’s service centers shipped 13.2 thousand tons of aluminum during May, 5.0% less than during April and 6.8% less than during May 2014. The year-to-date aluminum shipment total for Canadian service centers is 67.2 thousand tons, 0.5% higher than during the January-May 2014 period.
Aluminum inventories at Canadian centers showed no change from April to May, staying even at 42.2 thousand tons. That figure is 9.2% higher than the reported total for May 2014, and the Institute estimates Canadian service centers’ aluminum inventories represent a 3.2-month supply at their current shipment rate.