North American steel, aluminum shipments decline

According to the latest data, shipments from North America’s steel and aluminum service centers declined significantly during April from the April 2008 totals, indicating a continuation of the inventory reductions that have been the pattern through the first four months of 2009. Inventories of steel declined at U.S. service centers, and aluminum inventories fell in both countries.

The information is contained in the latest monthly shipment and inventory survey of North American service centers, conducted by the Metals Service Center Institute.

U.S. steel service centers shipped almost 2.5 million tons during April, a decline of 47.2 percent versus April 2008. For the first four months of 2009, shipments totaled nearly 10.1 million tons — a 43.2 percent decline from the January-April 2008 period.

As for steel inventories, U.S. service centers had 7.1 million tons of material in stock as April ended, a decline of 30.9% over the first four months of last year. At current shipping rates, MSCI concludes their inventories are equal to a 2.9-month supply.

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