Shipments of steel and aluminum by North American service centers declined during November, with volumes as well as rates (tons/day) falling, and with inventory levels of both metals rising for centers in the U.S. and Canada, there is a broad indication of slowing manufacturing demand. The Metals Service Center Institute focused on year-to-year increases in most categories, noting “the growth in metals shipments was positive in November but at a slower pace than in October.”
MSCI’s Monthly Activity Report details steel and aluminum shipments by service centers in the U.S. and Canada, measuring absolute tonnages as well as daily shipping rates and inventory volumes.
U.S. service centers shipped 3.1 million tons of steel products during November, -20.7% less than during October but 1.5% more than during November 2013. The average daily volume slipped -3.6% to 163.9 tons/day.
The latest total is the lowest monthly volume during 2014, and brings the year-to-date total for U.S. centers’ steel shipments to 39.97 million tons, which is a 4.1% increase over the 11-month total for 2013.
As for inventories, U.S. centers reported 9.19 million tons available as of November 30, down -1.25% from October’s total, but 15.2% higher than November 2013’s inventory level. MSCI estimated the current inventory represents a 3.0-month supply (up from 2.4 months in October) at the current rate of deliveries.
Steel shipments by Canadian service centers declined -13.01% from October to November, falling to 449,900 tons. The new figure also falls -4.9% behind the year-ago total, thought the daily shipping rate increased slightly to 23.7 tons/day.
The year-to-date total for Canadian centers’ steel shipments rose to 5.33 million tons, which is -0.7% less than the January-November 2013 total.
Steel inventories at Canadian centers increased 2.97% from October, totaling 1.59 million tons at the close of November. More notable, the new figure represents a 26.6% rise over the November 2013 inventories, and is estimated as a 3.5-month supply.
Aluminum shipments by U.S. service centers totaled 116,200 tons during November, a -21.3% decline from October, but a 1.1% improvement from November 2013 tonnage. The 6.1 tons/day shipment rate was the lowest since January, however. The year-to-date total of 1.48 million tons of aluminum shipped is 7.9% higher than the comparable figure for 2013.
U.S. centers’ aluminum inventories rose to 404,100 tons, up less than 1% from October to November, and that figure is up 8.0% from November 2013 inventories. MSCI projected the current inventory level represents a 3.5-month supply at the current rate of deliveries.
Canada’s service centers shipped 13,300 tons of aluminum during November, which was -13.07% less than during October, but 4.2% more than during November 2013. The daily delivery rate remained flat at 0.7 tons/day, a level it has held for three consecutive months.
The year-to-date shipment total for Canadian service centers is now 150,500 tons, which is a 4.3% increase over the January-November 2013 shipment total.
Aluminum inventories at Canadian service centers totaled 39,900 tons as November ended, -1.7% less than in the October report, and 14.9% more than the November 2013 total. The new figure indicates a 3.0-month supply of aluminum at the current rate of deliveries.