While steel shipments trail 2014 volumes, aluminum deliveries are up 1.1% YTD for U.S. service centers, up 1.5% YTD for Canada’s centers.

Service Centers’ Shipments Show Some Rebound in June

Aug. 4, 2015
Strong month helps narrow year-over-year lag in steel, aluminum shipment totals U.S. shipments up +8% from May Canadian shipments rise, too Inventory levels down

North American metal service centers posted strong monthly gains in their June shipments of steel and aluminum, bringing the first half of 2015 to a slightly more positive close, though year-to-date steel shipments trail the 2014 results in the U.S. and Canada.

Service center shipments represent a substantial volume of the metals consumed by machine shops and fabricators.

Inventory levels for both metals fell in the latest month too, though the stockpiles for both metals remain significantly higher than they were recorded at the midyear point of 2014.

Service center steel and aluminum shipments and inventories for the U.S. and Canada are reported each month by the Metals Service Center Institute in its Monthly Activity Report, which records absolute tonnages as well as daily shipping rates and inventory volumes.

U.S. service centers shipped 3.6 million tons of steel products during June, 8.8% more than their total May shipments but 3.2% less than the June 2014 total. The daily shipping rate actually declined slightly, from 164 to 162.2 tons/day.

Year-to-date steel shipments are now 20.8 million tons, down 5.0% from the halfway point of 2014.

The U.S. service centers steel inventories total 9.1 million tons, 2.1% less than the May inventory total but 7.1% higher than the June 2014 stockpile. According to MSCI, at the current rate of deliveries the U.S. service centers have a 2.6-month supply of steel in inventory.

Canada’s service centers shipped 482,300 tons of steel during June, 10.97% more than during May and 0.3% more than during June 2014. The daily shipping rate rose slightly from May to June, to 21.9 tons/day.

For the first six months of this year, Canadian service centers shipped 2.73 million tons of steel, 6.8% less than at midyear 2014.

As for inventories, the Canadian centers are holding 1.66 million tons in stock a 2.6% decline from May’s inventories but a 19.7% increase over the June 2014 inventory total.

At their current shipping rate Canada’s service centers are holding a 3.5-month supply of steel products.

Aluminum shipments by U.S. service centers rose to 143,000 tons, up 8.8% from May to June, and up 3.8 from June 2014. The daily shipping rate is now 6.5 tons/day, down slightly from the previous month, and the year-to-date shipment total is up 1.1% from 2014 to 814,400 tons.

U.S. service centers aluminum inventories slipped 0.2% from the May level, and now stand reported at 397,200 tons. That is a 3.1% rise over aluminum inventories at the comparable point of 2014.

Noting the current shipping rate, U.S. service centers are estimated to have a 2.8-month supply of aluminum products in stock.

Finally, Canadian service centers shipped 14,800 tons of aluminum during June, 12.1% above their May shipment totals and 6.6% above their June 2014 tonnage. The daily shipping rate remained set at 0.7 tons/day – a level it has held each month since March. Year-to-date, Canadian service centers’ aluminum shipments total 82,000 tons, or 1.5% more than the six-month total for 2014.

Inventories of aluminum fell 3.3% to 40,800 tons for Canada’s service centers, 8.6% higher than their comparable 2014 level. At the current shipping rate, Canadian centers are estimated to have a 2.8-month supply of aluminum in stock.

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