Service centers supply a significant volume of steel and aluminum products consumed by machine shops and fabricators whose activities reflect overall industrial activity in North America

Service centers supply a significant volume of steel and aluminum products consumed by machine shops and fabricators, whose activities reflect overall industrial activity in North America.

Shipments of Steel, Aluminum Dropped in February

U.S. service center deliveries nearly flat, Canadian activity "decreased significantly," according to MSCI Daily shipping rates down Uptick in inventories

Shipments of steel and aluminum products by U.S. service center operations declined during February, following an uptick during January, while the Canadian centers’ shipment “declined substantially, according to the Metals Service Center Institute. While some decline may be expected because there are fewer days of activity during February than in January, the daily shipping rates also declined, as did the year-on-year results.

The results are found in the latest Metals Activity Report, a monthly account that MSCI issues to document shipment and inventory levels for service centers in the U.S. and Canada.

Service center shipments correspond to a substantial volume of the metals consumed by machine shops, fabricators, and other manufacturers, and the activities at those operations are a reflection of industrial activity in the North America.

U.S. service centers shipped 3.13 million tons of steel products during February, 6.4% less than during January and 1.7% less than during February 2016. The daily shipping rate slipped by 2,800 tons from the January rate, to 156,300 tons/day. The year-to-date total of 6.5 million tons remains 3.8% higher than the two-month result for 2016.

Inventories of steel products at U.S. steel service centers increased to a reported 7.34 million tons at the end of February, slightly higher (0.2%) than for January, but 6.4% lower than for February 2016. At their current rate of shipments, MSCI estimated that U.S. service centers are holding a 2.3-month supply of steel products.

In Canada, service centers’ shipments of steel products declined 11.2% from January to February, totaling 365,700 for the latest month. That represents a 7.6% fall from the comparable January 2016 shipment rate, and reduced the daily shipping rate to 18,300 tons/day. The two-month total for Canadian steel centers is now 777,500 tons, which is 1.1% below last year’s comparable total.

Inventories of steel products at Canadian centers declined 0.6% from the January total to 1,12 million metric tons, 3.3% lower than the February 2016 inventory total. At their current rate of deliveries, MSCI estimated that Canada’s service centers are holding a 3.2-month supply of aluminum products.

As for aluminum products, U.S. service centers shipped 127,500 tons during February, 4.3% less than during January and 0.4% less than during January 2016. The daily shipping rate rose slightly from January to February, however, to 6,400 tons/day. For the year-to-date, U.S. service centers have shipped 260,600 tons of aluminum products, 3.8% more than the two-month total for 2016.

Aluminum inventories for February rose slightly from January (+0.2%), finishing the month at 387,400 tons, 2.4% more than last February’s inventory total. At the current shipping rate, U.S. service centers are estimated to be holding a 3.0-month supply of aluminum products.

Canadian service centers shipped 9,300 tons of aluminum products during February, 14.7% less than during January and 10.3% less than during February 2016. The daily shipping rate remained unchanged from January, 500 tons/day. For the year-to-date, the centers have shipped 20,100 tons, just 0.3% less than 2016’s two-month total.

Inventories of aluminum at Canadian service centers increased 2.9% from January, to 31,600 tons as February ended. That figure represents a 1.7% drop from the February 2016 inventory total. At their current rate of deliveries, MSCI estimated that Canadian service centers are holding a 3.4-month supply of aluminum products.

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