November Metal Shipments Stronger in Canada than U.S.

Dec. 17, 2010
Year-to-date figures remain strong for steel and aluminum

U.S. service centers in November posted another month of declining shipments for steel and aluminum products, though the Canadian centers showed healthy increases in shipments of both metals. The results were reported in the Metals Service Center Institute’s Monthly Activity Report, which is based on actual data supplied by service centers in the U.S. and Canada.

Though the November results were mixed, the year-to-date figures remain uniformly solid for both metals in Canada and the U.S., and the year-on-year data shows considerable improvement.

Shipments of steel products by U.S. metal service centers slipped 1.4% in November, to 2.99 million tons from 3.03 million tons in October. While the November total was an impressive 28.4% better than the November 2009 result, it was the third consecutive month of declining steel shipments for U.S. centers. Still, their year-to-date shipments now amount to 32.8 million tons, slightly more than 20.2% more than were shipped in the first 11 months of 2009.

As for inventories, U.S. centers reported 7.28 million tons of steel in stock as November ended, 24.2% more than were available at the same point in 2009. MSCI estimates that at the center’s current shipping rate their holdings are the equivalent of a 2.4-month supply.

In Canada, service centers’ steel shipments improved 6.5% in November, to 512,800 tons from 481,600 tons shipped in October. The November figure also represents a 19.5% rise over November 2009. The year-to-date total for Canadian steel shipments is 5.29 million tons, an improvement of 15.1% over the January-November 2009 total.

At the end of November Canada’s service centers had steel inventories of almost 1.3 million tons, or 30.4% more than were held in stock in November 2009, and at current shipping rates the present total is equal to that a 2.5-month supply.

As for November aluminum shipments, U.S. metals service centers shipped 110,300 tons for the month, 110,300 tons, nearly 5% less than were shipped in October (116,100 tons) but 38.8% more than were shipped in November 2009 (79,500 tons). However, the current month marks the third consecutive month of declining aluminum shipments for U.S. centers. Their year-to-date aluminum shipments now stand at 1.21 million tons, 25.7% more than were shipped during January-November 2009.

U.S. centers aluminum inventories are reported now to be 347,800 tons, 35.9% above the inventory level in November 2009, and equal to a 3.2-month supply at their current shipping rate.

Canada’s service centers’ November aluminum shipments rose 7.7% in November, to 12,600 tons from 11,700 tons. The current figure is 18.9% above the November 2009 total, and the Canadian centers’ year-to-date shipments total 126,200 tons for the year-to-date, a rise of 7.1% over January-November 2009.

Canadian aluminum inventories were reported to be 31,000 tons as November ended, 16.5% above the year-ago total and equal to a 2.5-month supply at the current shipping rate.

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