Steel Service Center Shipments Rose in September

U.S. steel inventories increase for the first time in 12 months

Steel inventories at metals service centers in U.S. and Canada rose slightly in September, in keeping with a slow increase in shipment levels. The conclusion is based on the Metals Service Center Institute’s monthly report of service center activities.

MSCI also reported that centers’ aluminum shipments rose during September, but their aluminum inventories continued to decline.

U.S. service center’s September shipments totaled roughly 2.56 million tons, down -31.4% from September 2008, but slightly above the August shipment total. For the first nine months of this year, steel shipments amount to 22.4 million tons, down -41.2% from January-September 2008.

As September ended, U.S. centers reported the first rise in steel inventories were reported at 5.79 million tons, or 3% higher than at the end of August. It was the first rise in U.S. steel inventories since September 2008 — and still measures -45.7% below that month’s inventory totals. At their current shipping rates, U.S. service centers are carrying a 2.3-month supply of steel.

In Canada, September service center steel shipments totaled 455,100 tons, -14.8% less than in September 2008 but 9.5% above the August shipment total. For the first nine months of this year, Canadian centers’ steel shipments total 3.7 million tons, -30.4% below the January-September 2008 total.

Canadian steel inventories rose to 957,300 tons, still -33.9% versus the September 2008 inventory level, but 0.17% above August volumes. At current shipping rates, Canadian centers have a 2.1-month supply of steel.

September aluminum shipments from U.S. metals service centers amounted to 86,400 tons, -37% down from the September 2008 total. For the first nine months of 2008, the U.S. centers have shipped 786,500 tons, -41.7% versus the January-September 2008 period.

As September ended, U.S. service centers reported aluminum inventories of 254,700 tons, -2.5% from August and -43.5% from September 2008. At their current shipping rates, the centers inventories’ represent a 2.9-month supply of aluminum.

Canadian service centers’ September aluminum shipments amounted to 11,100 tons, down -24.3% from the September 2008 total. From January through September, the Canadian centers shipped 96,200 tons of aluminum, -25.3% against the same period of 2008. Canadian centers’ aluminum inventories dropped to 28,700 tons, -2.4% less than August inventories and -22.4% less than September 2008 inventories. At the current shipping rates, they have a 2.6-month supply of aluminum in stock.

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