Shipments of steel and aluminum by North American metals service centers showed some increases from December to January, as might be expected, though the latest figures showed considerable declines, year-over-year. The more telling result in the latest Metals Activity Report is the continued rise in steel and aluminum inventories at U.S. and Canadian centers.
The report is issued by the Metals Service Center Institute, which tracks steel and aluminum shipments and inventories for service centers in the U.S. and Canada, measuring absolute tonnages as well as daily shipping rates and inventory volumes.
In the U.S., service centers’ January 2015 steel shipments totaled 3.52 million tons, a rise of 12.4% from the December 2014 result, but a decrease of 3.4% from January 2014 shipments. The daily delivery rate increased 17.7% from December to 167.8 tons/day.
Steel product inventories increased just 0.6% from December, to 9.96 million tons, but that marked the second consecutive month of rising steel inventories. Compared to January 2014 inventories, the current volume is 16.4% higher, and MSCI estimated that service centers are carrying a 2.8-month supply of steel at current delivery rates.
Steel shipments by Canada’s service centers totaled 444,800 tons in January, up 18.7% from December but down 10.2% from January 2014. The daily delivery rate increased 19.1% from December, to 21.2 tons/day.
During January, Canada’s centers steel inventories rose 1.8% from December 2014 to 1.69 million tons, a total that is up 19.6% from January 2014. At the current rate of deliveries, the Canadian centers are carrying a 3.8-month supply of steel.
Aluminum shipments by U.S. service centers rose to 130,000 metric tons during January 2015, only 0.1% higher than the December 2014 shipment total but 2.7% less than the January 2014 total. The daily delivery rate for aluminum rose 16.98% to 6.2 tons/day.
Those centers increased their inventory levels 0.2% for the month to 407,700 tons, which is up 7.6% in the year-to-year comparison.
At their current delivery rate, U.S. service centers are carrying 3.1 months’ supply of aluminum.
In Canada, service centers’ January aluminum shipments increased 26.7% from December, to 13,300 tons, which is 2.9% less than the January 2014 total. The daily delivery rate rose 2% to 0.6 tons/day.
Aluminum inventory levels also increased for Canadian centers during January, up 5.1% to 42,900 tons for January. At the current shipping rate, that figure represents a 3.2-month supply.