For U.S. service centers, demand for steel and aluminum seemed to break through some market resistance, though Canada’s service centers continue to fight the trend.

U.S. Service Centers Increase Metal Shipments, Again

May 20, 2014
Canadian deliveries of steel, aluminum take the opposite course Year-to-date domestic shipments climbing, too U.S. inventory levels rising Canadian inventories trail

U.S. metals service centers increased their shipment volumes for steel and aluminum from March to April, and also posted notable increases over the April 2013 tonnages. Canadian service centers, meanwhile, registered declines for both metals, both from the previous month and the year ago figures.  The Metals Service Center Institute, which reports the steel and aluminum delivery and inventory results in its Monthly Activity Report, noted the rise in U.S. deliveries represents the second consecutive month of expansion for U.S. service centers.

MSCI is a trade association for service centers and metal processors across North America. It prepares the monthly summary of steel and aluminum shipments from data reported by member companies in the U.S. and Canada, and tracks inventory levels at those locations.

Steel shipped by U.S. service centers in April 2014 totaled 3.807 million tons, an increase of 4.9% from March and 4.9% from April 2013. It raises the year-to-date total for U.S. service centers’ steel shipments to 14.510 million tons, 3.1% higher than during the same January-April period for 2013.

Meanwhile, U.S. centers’ steel product inventories increased 4.3% from the March volume, and 3.7% from April 2013. At their current delivery rate, MSCI estimated U.S. service centers have a 2.3-month supply of steel available.

In Canada, April service center steel shipments fell slightly, 0.6%, to 496,300 tons, and more markedly, from April 2013, down 5.6%. The latest figure brings Canada’s total year-to-date steel shipments to 1.4 million tons, a 2.2% decline from the comparable Q1 2013 results.

Canada’s steel product inventories decreased 2.7% from March and 11.7% from April of last year. The MSCI estimated the current inventory volume represents a 2.9-month supply.

As for aluminum products, U.S. service centers shipped 139,500 tons of material during April, a rise of 3.1% from the March delivery total, and an increase of 9.4% from the April 2013 total. The year-to-data aluminum shipments for U.S. centers total 533,600 tons, 10.1% more than at the comparable point of 2013.

The current aluminum inventory for U.S. service centers is 391,700 tons, 3.3% more than in March and 6.7% more than in April 2013. At their current delivery rate, the centers have a 2.8-month supply available, unchanged from the March estimate.

Canadian service centers shipped 13,400 tons of aluminum during April, 2.2% less than they shipped in March, and 5.3% less than they shipped during April 2013. The January-April total for Canadian aluminum deliveries is 52,700 tons, 0.5% more than was shipped during the comparable period of 2013.

Inventories of aluminum at Canada’s service centers now total 39,500 tons, up 3.1% from March and 6.6% from April 2013. That represents a 3.0-month supply at their current rate of deliveries.

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