Inventories of steel products declined for U.S. and Canadian service centers, from March to April and in the year-over-year comparison.

Slower Shipments, Declining Inventories for Service Centers in April

May 22, 2015
Deliveries of steel and aluminum falling behind year-ago pace, reversing previous month’s progress Steel shipments: U.S., -5.6%; Canada, -3.6% Aluminum shipments: U.S., -3.5%; Canada, -2.8%

After posting strong results during March, North American service centers’ steel and aluminum shipment totals declined during April, though aluminum shipments improved on a year-over-year basis. Meanwhile, steel and aluminum inventories declined slightly for centers in the U.S. and Canada.

The Metals Service Center Institute reports monthly steel and aluminum shipment and inventor totals for operations in the U.S. and Canada. The Metals Activity Report records absolute tonnages as well as daily shipping rates and inventory volumes.

U.S. service centers shipped 3.47 million tons of steel products during April, 5.6% less than during March and 9.0% less than during April 2014. The centers’ daily shipping rate for steel declined by 10.5 tons/day from the March activity, and the year-to-date total rose to 13.99 million tons — 3.6% less than the January-April total for 2014.

Steel product inventories at U.S. service centers declined 0.8% from March to April, but at 9.5 million tons the total is 10.1% higher than at the same point of 2014. At the current rate of deliveries, MSCI estimated U.S. service centers have a 2.7-month supply of steel in stock.

Canadian service centers steel shipments during April totaled 463,700 tons, 3.6% less than the March total and 6.6% less than the April 2014 total. The daily shipping rate ticked up from 21.9 to 22.1 tons/day, and the year-to-date volume rose to 1.8 million tons – 6.5% less than the Canadian centers’ January-April 2014 total.

Canadian inventories of steel fell 3.6% from March to April, settling at 1.76 million by the end of the month. That figure is 22.9% higher than year-ago rate, and puts the estimated inventory volume at 3.8 months.

Aluminum shipments from U.S. service centers declined 3.5% from March to 140,400 tons, but that figure was 1.0% higher than the April 2014 shipment total. The centers’ daily shipping rate remained flat at 6.4 tons/day. The year-to-date shipment total for aluminum rose to 540,100 tons, or 1.6% higher than the four-month total for 2014.

As for aluminum inventories, U.S. service centers reported 397,700 tons in stock, a slight rise (0.6%) from the March inventory total and a 1.4% rise from the April 2014 report. At their current rate of deliveries, U.S. service centers have a 2.8-month supply of aluminum available.

Canada’s service centers shipped 13,900 tons of aluminum during April, or 2.8% less than during March, but 4.7% more than during April 2014. The daily shipment rate remained flat 700 tons/day, and the year-to-date shipment total rise to 54 tons, 2.4% higher than the comparable 2014 total.

The centers’ aluminum inventories slipped 1.9% from March to April, and at 42,200 tons the Canadian centers aluminum inventory is is 6.8% higher than in the year-over-year comparison. At the current shipping rate for aluminum products, MSCI estimated that Canada’s service centers have 3.0-month supply.

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