Steel bar inventory
Service centers’ shipments represent a substantial volume of the metals consumed by machine shops, fabricators, and other manufacturers.

Setback for U.S. Metals Center Shipments

U.S. service centers reported lower shipment volumes for steel and aluminum from October to November, while shipment volumes in Canada were generally flat. Inventories showed signs of declining, too.

Metals service centers in the U.S. reported lower shipment volumes for steel and aluminum from October to November, while shipment volumes in Canada were generally flat. During the same period, inventories showed signs of declining. These details are found in the latest release of the Metals Activity Report by the Metals Service Center Institute — which emphasized the more impressive rate of improvement in year-over-year shipment volumes.

MSCI’s monthly summary details shipment volumes and inventory totals as reported by member companies. Service center metal products constitute to a substantial volume of the metals consumed by machine shops, fabricators, and other manufacturers.

U.S. service centers shipped 3.16 million tons of steel products during November 2017, 7.2% less than during October but 6.8% more than in November 2016. The daily shipping rate fell to 150,400 tons/day during the latest month, 4,300 tons/day less than during October. The year-to-date steel shipments total for U.S. service centers is 36.12 million tons, 3.9% higher than the figure for 11 months of 2016.

Steel product inventories at U.S. service centers fell 1.3% from October to November, finishing the month at 7.587 million tons. That represents a 7.9% increase over the November 2016 inventory total, and is estimated by MSCI to be equivalent to a 2.4-month supply at the current shipment rate.

Canada’s service centers shipped 398,900 tons of steel products during November 2016, 1.8% more than during October but only 0.2% more than during November 2016. The daily shipping rate rose 1,000 tons for the month to 19,000 tons/day, and the YTD shipment total rose to 4.25 million tons — a 3.1% increase over the January-November 2016 total.

Inventories of steel products at Canadian service centers declined 3.1% from October to November 2016, but at 1.13 million tons stands now 4.3% higher than the November 2016 inventory report. At their current shipping rate, Canadian service centers are estimated to be holding a 2.8-month supply of steel products.

U.S. service centers shipped 132,000 tons of aluminum products during November 2017, 8.5% less than during October but 12.0 more than during November 2016. The daily shipping rate fell by 300 tons to 6,300 tons/day and the 11-month total increased to 1.5 billion tons of aluminum products, 8.2% more than the January-October 2016 total.

Aluminum product inventories at U.S. service centers decreased 3.6% from October to November, ending the latest month at 392,200 tons. That figure represents a 3.4% rise over the November 2016 inventory total, and is equivalent to a 3.0-month supply of material at the current shipping rate.

Canadian service centers shipped 10,500 tons of aluminum products during November, nearly even (-0.9%) with the October volume but 4.2% less than the November 2016 shipment total. For eleventh consecutive month, MSCI reported Canadian service centers’ daily shipping rate at 500 tons/day. The year-to-date shipment total is now 114,200 tons of aluminum products, essentially even (-0.6%) with last November’s reported total.

Inventories of aluminum products at Canadian service centers were reported at 31,300 tons as November closed, 1.9% higher than the October report and 1.3% higher than the November 2016 report. At their current shipment rate, MSCI estimated Canadian service centers are carrying a 3.0-month supply of aluminum products.

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