U.S. and Canadian metals service center shipments of steel and aluminum products increased in May at double-digit rates from depressed year-ago levels, according to the latest Metals Activity Report from the Metals Service Center Institute. Inventories were flat or rose during the month.
Shipments of steel products from U.S. metals service centers totaled 2.92 million tons in May, a 29.4% increase from year-ago (May 2009) shipments. That brought year-to-date shipments to about 14.4 million tons, or 16.7% above shipments for the comparable year-ago period. By the end of May, steel inventories totaled about 7.0 million tons, 7.8% higher than a year ago. At current shipping rates, this volume is equal to a 2.4-month supply.
In Canada, May shipments of steel products totaled 463,000 tons, a 23.3% increase from May 2009. For the year to date, shipments total 2.36 million tons, or 14.4% more than shipments for the comparable year-ago period. By the end of the month, steel product inventories totaled 1.39 million tons, or 23.9% more than a year ago. At current shipping rates, inventories were equal to a 3.0-month supply.
Shipments of aluminum products from U.S. service centers totaled 97,000 tons in May, marking the third straight month of decline. Shipments were, however, still 18.3% above year-ago volume. Year-to-date U.S. service center shipments of aluminum total 492,300 tons, or 13.2% more than during the same period in 2009. By the end of May, U.S. aluminum inventories were 280,400 tons, 0.7% lower than at the end of May last year and, at current shipping rates, equal to a 2.9-month supply.
Shipments of aluminum products from Canadian service centers totaled 11,200 tons May, or 11.6% more than in May 2009. For the year to date, shipments of 56,000 tons are up 3.9% from the same period last year. By the end of May, aluminum product inventories of 32,800 tons were 6.0% above those at the end of the month last year. At current shipping rates, this volume is equal to a 2.9-month supply.
The Metals Activity Report (MAR), based on data from metals service centers in the United States and Canada, is produced by the Metals Service Center Institute and a third-party econometrics and strategy firm, McCoy, Scott & Co.
Founded in 1909, the Metals Service Center Institute has more than 375 members operating from about 1200 locations in the U.S., Canada, Mexico, and elsewhere in the world. Together, MSCI members constitute the largest single group of metals purchasers in North America, amounting each year to more than 55 million tons of steel, aluminum, and other metals, with about 300,000 manufacturers and fabricators as customers. MSCI’s membership also includes almost all ferrous and non-ferrous industrial metals producers in North America. Metals service centers inventory and distribute metals and provide first-stage fabrication services.