Service center deliveries correspond to a significant volume of steel and aluminum products consumed by machine shops and fabricators whose activities reflect the state of industrial activity in North America

Double-Digit Increases for Service Center Steel, Aluminum Shipments

Feb. 21, 2017
January results show strength in U.S. and Canadian manufacturing activity Daily shipping rates climb Inventories down y/y

North American service centers’ shipments of steel and aluminum products rose significantly during January 2017, with double-digit increases from December’s results and narrower but still notable year-on-year rises from January 2016. Inventory levels also rose slightly.  The data is found in the Metals Service Center Institute’s monthly Metals Activity Report, which tracks shipments and inventory levels at service centers in the U.S. and Canada.

The month-to-month (December to January) increases were above 20% for the U.S. centers, and above 40% for the Canadian centers.

Service center shipments correspond to a substantial volume of the metals consumed by machine shops, fabricators, and other manufacturers, and the activities at those operations are a reflection of industrial activity in the North America.

U.S. service centers shipped 3.34 million tons of steel products during January, 29.2% more than during December, and 9.4% more than the January 2016 shipment total. The daily shipping rate rose by 36,000 tons to 159.1 tons/day.

Those U.S. centers’ reported inventory total at the end of January was 7.29 million tons, 8.3% less than last January’s inventory total, and equal to a 2.2-month supply of steel at the current rate of shipments, according to the Metals Service Center Institute’s estimate.

Canadian service centers shipped 411,800 tons of steel products last month, 42.0% more than their December total and 5.7% more than the January 2016 results. These centers’ daily shipping rate rose by 5,700 tons from the December report to 19,600 tons/day.

Inventories at Canadian centers increased 0.6% to 1.18 million tons, down 5.8% from the January 2016 inventory total. At their current shipping rate, Canada’s service centers are estimated to be holding a 2.9-month supply of steel products.

Aluminum products shipments by U.S. service centers totaled 133,200 tons during January, 25.4% more than during December and 8.3% more than during January 2016. The daily shipping rate rose by 1,200 tons to 6,300 tons/day for the month.

U.S. centers’ aluminum products inventories totaled 386,700 tons at the end of the month, up 0.7% from the previous month’s inventory total, and up 1.2% year/year (i.e., January 2016.) At the current rate of deliveries, U.S. centers are holding an estimated 2.9-month supply of aluminum.

Canadian service centers shipped 10,900 tons of aluminum during January, 45.3% more than during December and 10.3% more than during January 2016. Their daily shipping rate rose by 100 tons to 500 tons/day.

Inventories of aluminum products rose just 0.6% for the Canadian centers, ending the month at 30,700 tons. At their current delivery rate, MSCI estimated that to be the equivalent of a 2.8-month supply.

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.)

Latest from Machining / Cutting