The Metals Service Center Institute reports that March 2010 North American shipments of steel and aluminum products increased at double-digit rates from 2009 year-ago rates, while the centers’ inventories of both metals increased.
In the U.S., service centers’ steel shipments during March amounted to 3.21 million tons, an increase of 24.0% over March 2009. For the first quarter of 2010, U.S. service centers’ steel shipments totaled 8.45 million tons, increasing by 11.2% over Q1 2009 shipments.
As March ended, steel inventories reported by U.S. centers were 6.49 million tons, 17.2% less than the March 2009 inventory report, and equal to a 2.0 month supply at current shipping rates. MSCI characterized that figure as “unusually low.”
Canadian service centers March steel shipments amounted to 516,400 tons, 15.9% more than in March 2009. Q1 shipments of steel from Canadian centers were 1.41 million tons, 13.6% above the comparable period of 2009.
Inventories at Canadian centers were reported to be 1.36 million tons as March ended, 16.4% above inventories the year earlier and equal to a 2.6-month supply at current shipping rates.
As for aluminum, U.S. service center shipments in March totaled 107,900 tons, 23.7% more than in March 2009. Total first-quarter shipments of aluminum from U.S. centers were 291,500 tons, 11.5% over Q1 2009 shipment totals.
U.S. aluminum inventories were reported to be 273,600 tons, 15.1% less than the March 2009 inventory total. At current shipping rates, that total is equal to a 2.5-month supply.
Canadian service center’s aluminum shipments for March amounted to 12,600 tons, 13.6% more than in March 2009. Those centers’ Q1 shipments were 33,500 tons, 1.8% more than for January-March 2009. Aluminum inventories in Canada are down to 30,700 tons, 4.0% below the March 2009 report and equal to a 2.4-month supply at current shipping rates.