Metals Service Center Institute
Service centersrsquo steel inventories dropped 1 in the US but rose 19 for Canadian centers

For Service Centers, Metal Shipments Slowed in July

Aug. 17, 2012
U.S. service centers’ steel shipments, -6.3% U.S. service centers’ aluminum shipments, -5.6% Canadian centers’ steel shipments, -11.3% Canadian centers’ steel shipments, -7.4%

North American metal service centers shipment volumes for steel and aluminum products declined from June to July, and inventory levels rose in most cases. However, the year-to-date evidence continues to show a reasonable margin of improvement against the 2011 record. The data is contained in the monthly Metals Activity Report issued by the Metals Service Center Institute.

U.S. service centers shipped 3,288,900 tons of steel products during July, down 6.3% from the June total (3,511,200 tons), but a 5.4% increase over the 3,121,000 tons of steel shipped in July 2011.

For the January-July 2012 period, U.S. service centers have shipped 25,378,200 tons of steel, 5.8% above total shipments (23,982,200 tons) for the first seven months of 2011.

Service centers report their steel product inventories total 8,933,100 tons through July 31, a decrease of 1.0% from the June inventory total (9,020,300 tons), but a 6.2% increase over the July 2011 inventory total (8,411,400 tons.) At the current shipping rate, MSCI indicated the inventories represent 2.7 months’ supply, an 0.8% increase for July 2012.

As for aluminum, U.S. service centers shipped 121,700 tons of products in July, a drop of 5.6% from 128,900 tons shipped in June, but a 3.6% increase over 134,300 tons shipped in July 2011.

Through the first seven months of this year, U.S. service centers have shipped 914,700 tons of aluminum, an increase of 3.8% over 763,600 tons shipped during January-July 2011.

As for aluminum inventories, U.S. service centers registered 387,600 tons available at the end of July, 2.8% above the end-of-June inventory total (376,900 tons), and 9.4% higher than the July 2011 total (351,200 tons.)

At the current shipping rate, the centers have a 3.2-month supply of aluminum in stock, an increase of 5.7% the July 2011 inventory.

In Canada, metal service centers shipped 471,000 tons of steel July, down 11.3% from the June steel shipment total (531,000 tons), and an increase of 0.5% from the 468,600 tons shipped in July 2011. For the year-to-date, Canadian centers’ steel shipments now stand 3,774,300 tons, up 1.8% from 3,707,700 tons shipped during the January-July 2011 period.

Canada’s steel inventories stand at 1,634,800 tons through July 2012, a 2% increase over June’s inventories (1,602,800 tons) and a 0.9% increase over the 1,619,900 tons in stock for July 2011.

At the current shipping rate, MSCI estimated Canadian service centers have 3.5-months supply, an increase of 0.4% versus the July 2011 inventories.

Finally, Canadian service centers shipped 12,500 tons of aluminum products during July, down 7.4% from June’s result (13,500 tons) but up 15.9% from June 2011 (10,700 tons.)

For the January-July period, Canadian centers’ aluminum shipments stand at 95,800 tons, an increase of 12.4% versus 85,300 tons of aluminum shipped during the comparable period of 2011.

Through the end of July, inventories of aluminum products stand at 39,000 tons for Canada’s service centers, a rise of 6.1% over the June inventory (36,700 tons) and an 18.2% increase over the July 2011 inventory total (33,000 tons.) At the current shipping rate, service centers have an estimated 3.1 months’ supply, a 2.0% increase above inventories listed for July 2011.

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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