Service Centers Report Increases for Steel, Aluminum Shipments

March 17, 2010
U.S. centers see first year-on-year improvement for steel shipments since April 08

U.S. steel service centers’ total February shipments were reported at 2.66 million tons, a rise of 10.4% above the February 2009 shipment volume (2.4 million tons), according to the Metals Service Center Institute’s monthly Metals Activity Report. MSCI indicated it was the first year-on-year rise for U.S. centers’ steel shipments since April 2008.

The U.S. centers’ February steel shipments also marked a 3.3% increase above January’s steel shipments (2.58 million tons), marking the first month-on-month increase in shipment levels since October 2009.

For the first two months of 2010, service centers’ steel shipments amount to 5.24 million tons — up 4.5% from the 2009 two-month total.

As the month ended, U.S. service centers’ steel inventories totaled 6.48 million tons, 22% below year-ago inventory levels. At their current shipping rates, MSCI estimates the centers have a 2.4-month supply of steel.

For Canadian service centers, February steel shipments increased 15.8% above the February 2009 total. Shipments rose to 445,700 tons, or 15.8% more than in February 2009.

Year-to-date shipment totals stand at 890,100 tons in Canada, up 12.4% for the comparable period of 2009.

Month-end steel inventories for Canadian centers amounted 1.27 million tons, 5.8% higher than the February 2009 level and equal to a 2.8-month supply at the current shipping rate.

Aluminum shipments from U.S. service centers totaled 90,000 tons in February, 8.1% above the February 2009 total. Year-to-date, U.S. centers’ aluminum shipments amount to 183,500 tons, 5.3% more than the 2009 two-month total.

As February ended, aluminum inventories at U.S. centers totaled 260,800 tons, 25% less than in 2009. At current shipping rates, those inventories represent a 2.9-month supply.

In Canada, February aluminum shipments amounted to 10,300 tons, 2.7% below the February 2009 total. Shipments for the first two months of 2010 stand at 20,900 tons, down 4.2% from 2009. Canadian aluminum inventories totaled 30,500 tons at the end of February, 6.9% less than in February 2009 and equal to a 3.0 month stockpile at current shipping rates.

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