U.S. service centers’ inventories are estimated to be a 3.0-month supply of steel and a 3.5-month supply of aluminum. Canadian centers’ steel inventories are estimated as a 3.2-month supply, and aluminum inventories are pegged as a 3.1-month supply.

Metal Service Center Deliveries Slowed Again in November

Dec. 15, 2015
Steel and aluminum deliveries fell further behind the 2014 pace; inventory positions “deteriorated” Daily shipping rates falling U.S. steel deliveries, -8.1% year/year U.S. aluminum deliveries, -2.0% year/year

The Metals Service Center Institute reported its members’ shipments of steel and aluminum declined during November, continuing to fall further behind the 2014 delivery rates though at rates described as “somewhat slower” than during October.  The trade group added that service centers’ inventory positions also “deteriorated again.”

MSCI issues a monthly Metals Activity Report for service centers 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 2.86 million tons of steel during November, a decline of 14.9% from the October volume and of 8.1% from the November 2014 total. The daily shipping rate fell 6.4% from October to 143.1 tons/day, and the 11-month total for U.S. centers steel shipments rose to 37.08 million tons, down 7.2% versus the January-November 2014 period.

End-of-month steel inventories at U.S. service centers fell 4.1% from October to 8.55 million tons, which the MSCI estimated to be a 3.0-month supply at the current shipping rate.

Steel shipments by Canadian service centers during November declined by 5.5% from October, and 11.3% from November 2014. The daily shipping rate fell to 19.9 tons/day, -0.99% from October, and the year-to-date shipments rose to 4.84 million tons, down 9.1% compared to the comparable period of 2014.

Steel inventories at Canada’s service centers fell by 5.1% from October to 1.28 million tons, and down 19.1% from November 2014 inventory totals. The current volume is estimated to be a 3.2-month supply of steel at the current shipping rates.

In the aluminum market, U.S. service centers shipped 111,900 tons of products during November, 17.0% less than during October and 3.3% less than during November 2014. The daily aluminum-shipping rate fell 8.2% from October to 5.6 tons/day. The 11-month total for aluminum shipments by U.S. centers is now 1.46 million tons, 1.0% less than the total at the comparable point of last year.

U.S. centers’ aluminum inventories fell 2.5% from October, and 2.0% from November 2014 levels. At the current rate of shipments, MSCI estimated U.S. service centers are carrying a 3.5-month supply of aluminum.

Canadian service centers shipped 11,600 tons of aluminum products during November, 10.0% less than during October and 12.9% less than during November 2014. The daily shipping rate remained even with the previous month at 600 tons/day, and the year-to-date delivery total rose to 147,700 tons, down 1.8% compared to January-November 2014.

End-of-month inventories of aluminum material at Canadian service centers slipped 5.0% from October, and 10.7% from November 2014, to 35,700 tons. That is equal to a 3.1-month supply at the current shipping rate, according to MSCI.