Deliveries of steel and aluminum by North American service centers appeared to recover some momentum during May, “substantially” slowing the rate of decline for shipments (according to the Metals Service Center Institute), while inventory levels appeared to stabilize. The results are found in the latest release of MSCI’s monthly Metals Activity Report, which details shipment and inventory totals for steel and aluminum at service centers in the U.S. and Canada.
Service center shipments correspond to a substantial volume of the metals consumed by machine shops and fabricators, and the activities at those operations are a reflection of industrial activity in the North America.
U.S. service centers shipped 3,204,800 tons of steel products during May, 12.7% less than during April, but more notably 2.3% less than during April 2015. The May result represents the third consecutive month for a decline in the year-over-year tonnage for U.S. service center’s steel shipments. The daily shipping rate for the month declined slightly (-1.3%) from the previous month to 152.6 tons/day, and the year-to-date shipment total rose to 16.017 million tons, 7.3% less than the May 2015 YTD total.
U.S. centers’ steel inventories declined to 7,581,200 tons, less the 1% below the April inventory total and 18.9% less than the May 2015 inventory total. At the current rate of shipments, MSCI estimated U.S. service centers have 2.4 months of steel products in stock.
In Canada, service centers’ steel products shipments totaled 388,600 tons during May, less than 1.0% more than during April and just 2.1% more than during May 2015. The daily shipping rate rose 3.9% from the preceding month to 18.5 tons/day, and the year-to-date shipment total is now 1.94 million tons. That result is 5.9% less than the year-ago five-month total.
Canadian centers’ steel inventories declined 9.4% from April to May, to 1.15 million tons, which is 26.1% less than last year’s comparable figure. At the current shipping rate, MSCI estimated Canada’s service centers have a 3.0-month supply of steel products.
Aluminum shipments from U.S. service centers during May totaled 3,204,800 tons, down 12.7% from April and down 2.3% from May 2015. The daily shipping rate, 152.6 tons/day, is 1.3% less than April’s result, and the five-month total for aluminum deliveries is now 16.017 million tons, 7.3% less than the January-May total for 2015.
Inventories of aluminum products at U.S. centers fell less than 1% from April to 7.58 million tons, which is 18.9% less than last May’s inventory level. MSCI estimates U.S. service centers have a 2.4-month supply of aluminum at the current shipping rate.
Canadian service centers shipped 127,700 tons of aluminum during May, less than 1% below the April total and 2.8% less than the May 2015 total. The daily shipping rate remained unchanged from April, at 6.1 tons/day, and the year-to-date aluminum shipments total for Canadian centers rose to 643,900 tons – 4.1% less than last year’s January-May total.
Inventories of aluminum ticked up less than 1% from April to May, to 385,900 tons, which is 3.1% less than the inventory level at the same point of 2015. At their current shipment rate, MSCI estimated that Canadian centers are carrying a 3.0-month supply of aluminum – an estimated that is unchanged from April