U.S. service centers’ steel deliveries rose 3.2% from September to October, but the daily shipping rate fell by 2.4 tons/day from the earlier month, and is down 17.2 tons/day from October 2014’s daily shipping rate.

Metal Service Center Shipments Fall Further in October

Nov. 18, 2015
Delivery tonnages, shipping rates decline, but inventory levels for steel, aluminum also dropping U.S. steel shipments, -14.0% Y/Y Canada steel shipments, -18.3% Y/Y U.S. aluminum shipments, -8.1% Y/Y Canada aluminum shipments, -15.5% Y/Y

Metal service centers across the United States had nominally good news in their October results as steel and aluminum shipments rose in volume from September. But, the results from Canada’s service centers were negative, month-to-month, and the year-over-year shipment totals were down across North America. The Metals Service Center Institute reported shipment totals declined from 2014 levels in both countries at faster rates than during September.

More positively, inventory levels for steel and aluminum declined to some extent, suggesting some normalization may be emerging.

The figures are drawn from the MSCI’s monthly Metals Activity Report, which tracks results for service centers that process and deliver steel and aluminum in the U.S. and Canada.

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

U.S. service centers shipped 3.36 million tons of steel products during October, 3.2% more than the volume shipped in September, but 14.0% less than the October 2014 total. The daily shipping rate fell by almost 2 tons/day from the previous month, to 152.9 tons/day, and the year-to-date (January-October) total now stands at 34.2 million tons, or 7.2% less than were shipped in the comparable time period of 2014.

U.S. centers’ total steel inventories fell almost 3% from September to October, finishing the month at 8.9 million tons (-4.2% compare to October 2014). MSCI estimates the U.S. centers’ steel inventories represent a 2.7-month supply at the current shipping rate.

Canadian service centers shipped 422,400 tons of steel during October, 6.4% less than during September and 18.3% less than during October 2014. The daily shipping rate fell 1.4 tons/day from September’s average, to 20.1 tons/day. The 10-month total for 2015 shipments is now 4.44 million tons, or 8.9% less than the comparable figure for 2014.

Canada’s service centers finished the month of October with steel inventories totaling 1.35 million tons, down 7.29% from September’s inventory total, and down 12.3% from the year-ago figure. At the current shipping rate, the Canadian service centers are estimated to have a 3.2-month supply of steel available.

Aluminum shipments by U.S. service centers rose to 134,900 tons during October, up 3.76% from September but down 8.1% from October 2014. The daily shipping rate of 6.1 tons/day was down only slightly from September, and the year-to-date total rose to 1.35 million tons, just 0.8% less than total for January-October 2014.

U.S. service centers’ aluminum inventories at the close of October were 401,300 tons, up 0.3% from September and up 0.9% from October 2014. At the current rate of deliveries, U.S. centers’ aluminum stocks are estimated as a 3.0-month supply.

Canadian service centers’ aluminum shipments during October fell 9.7% from the September total, to 12,900 tons. The daily shipping rate fell slightly to 0.6 tons/day, and the 10-month total for the current year rose to 136,100 tons, or 0.8% less than the January-October 2014 result.

Canadian centers’ aluminum inventories fell 11.3% from September to October, finishing last month at 37,600 tons. That total is 7.2% less than the October 2014 inventory total. At the current rate of delivery, Canada’s service centers have an estimated 2.9-month supply of aluminum in inventory.

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