Service Centers Steel Shipments Fell for Third Month

Dec. 22, 2011
Aluminum shipments slipped, too; Canadian centers post better results

U.S. metal service centers shipped 3,301,000 tons of steel during November, a 2.3% decline from the October shipment total (3,378,100 tons), but a 10.6% increase over the November 2010 total. The data was included in the Metals Service Center Institute’s monthly statement, which covers shipment data for steel and aluminum products from centers in the U.S. and Canada.

The November results continued an up-and-down pattern for U.S. steel service center shipments during 2011, though it is the third consecutive month of falling shipment totals and no month has come close to the peak total of 3,821,600 tons, set during March.

The current month’s total brings U.S. centers’ 2011 year-to-date steel shipments to 37,753,700 tons, a 15.0% rise over the 11-month total for 2010.

Service centers also reported steel product inventories totaling 8,100,500 tons at the end of November, an 11.3% increase over November 2010 inventories, and a 3.3% decrease from October inventories. At their current shipping rate, U.S. centers have a 2.5-month supply of steel, an increase of 0.7% from November 2010.

Steel shipments from Canadian service centers totaled 534,700 tons during November 2011, a 1% rise over 529,400 tons shipped during October 2011. The current month improves by 4.3% on the November 2010 total (512,800 tons) posted by Canadian steel service cents.

Canadian centers’ steel product inventories are reported to be 1,346,400 tons as of November 30, a 3.9% increase over November 2010 but a fall of 9.4% from October. At current shipping rates, the centers have a 2.5-month supply of steel, a decrease of 0.4% from November 2010.

U.S. service centers shipped 120,800 tons of aluminum products during November, a 1.4% decline from October’s 128,000 tons total, but a 9.5% increase over from the November 2010 result.

Aluminum shipments from U.S. centers for the year-to-date were 1,392,000 tons, a 15.5% increase over the total for January-November 2010. As November ended, the centers had aluminum product inventories of 359,500 tons, a 3.4% increase over November 2010 inventories and a 0.4% increase from October’s inventory level. At the current shipping rate, U.S. service centers have a 3.0-month supply of aluminum products, a 5.5% decrease from November 2010.

In Canada, service centers shipped 13,200 tons of aluminum products during November, a rise of 7.3% from the October total of 12,300 tons, and an increase of 4.7% from the October 2010 result.

For the first 11 months of 2011, Canadian centers shipped 136,700 tons of aluminum products, an 8.3% rise over the January-November 2010 period. Canada’s centers reported 35,300 tons of aluminum in inventory at the end of November 2011, an increase of 14.0% from November 2010 and a decrease of 2.9% from October 2011. At the current shipping rate, this represents 2.7 months of supply of aluminum, up 8.8% from the comparable figure in November 2010.

About the Author

Robert Brooks | Content Director

Robert Brooks has been a business-to-business reporter, writer, editor, and columnist for more than 20 years, specializing in the primary metal and basic manufacturing industries. His work has covered a wide range of topics, including process technology, resource development, material selection, product design, workforce development, and industrial market strategies, among others. Currently, he specializes in subjects related to metal component and product design, development, and manufacturing — including castings, forgings, machined parts, and fabrications.

Brooks is a graduate of Kenyon College (B.A. English, Political Science) and Emory University (M.A. English.)

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