U.S. metals service centers’ shipments of steel and aluminum declined from April to May, while their Canadian counterparts shipments of both metals increased. At the same time, the year-on-year results showed the opposite trends: U.S. centers' delivery totals improved and Canadian centers' declined in the 12-month comparison.
The more revealing trend shows service centers in both countries decreasing inventory volumes for both steel and aluminum.
The Metals Service Center Institute reported that U.S. shipment rates increased “but at roughly half the rate of growth displayed in April.” It noted that Canadian centers’ year-on-year decline was the second monthly fall-off, “but at slower rates than in April.
The results are drawn from the MSCI’s Monthly Activity Report, which presents the steel and aluminum delivery and inventory results for both nations’ service center industries.
U.S. service center steel shipments fell 1.5% in May, to 3.25 million tons from 3.8 million tons in April. This volume represents an increase of 2.6% from 3.66 million tons in May 2013.
The year-to-date total for U.S. service centers’ steel shipments is 18.3 million tons, which is up 3.0% from the same January-May period of 2013.
Steel product inventories at U.S. service centers rose to 8.4 million tons during May, down 1.1% from 8.6 million tons in April, and up 4.9% from May 2013’s report. At the current shipping rate, the current volume represents a 2.2-month supply of steel in inventory by U.S. centers.
Canada's More Impressive Month
In Canada, service centers shipped 509,700 tons of steel products in May 2014, rising 2.7% from April but declining 1.0% from May 2013.
For the year-to-date, Canadian centers have shipped a total of 2.45 million tons of steel products, down 1.9% versus the five-month total for 2013.
Canadian steel product inventories declined 3.3% from April, now standing at 1.4 million tons, which is a 9.0% decrease from the May 2013 inventory total. At the current shipping rate, MSCI estimates this as a 2.7-month supply of available steel products.
As for aluminum products, U.S. service centers’ shipments fell 2.3% to 136,300 tons during May, from 139,500 tons during April. The current total represents a 3.0% from 132,400 tons of aluminum products shipped in May 2013.
The current total for 2014 aluminum shipments is 669,900 tons, an increase of 8.6% over the five-month total for 2013.
U.S. centers’ inventories of aluminum products declined 1.1% from April, down to 387,500 tons, and down 5.3% from the May 2013 inventory total. MSCI estimated that at the current shipping rate the current inventory represents a 2.8-months supply of aluminum products.
In Canada, service centers’ aluminum shipments rose 5.2% from April to 14,100 tons during May. That total represents a 2.6% decrease from the May 2013 total. Year-to-date aluminum shipments in Canada now stand at 66,900 tons, a slight (0.2%) decline from the January-March 2013 period.
Canadian centers’ aluminum inventories declined 2.0% from April, now totaling 38,700 tons – an increase of 4.0% from the May 2013 volume. At the current shipping rate, the present inventory total represents a 2.7-months supply available.