Steel inventories, in decline since early last year, rose slightly in September in the U.S. and Canada, according
to the latest report from the Metals Service Center Institute. Shipments of aluminum products also rose slightly, but inventories
of the light metal continued to decline in both countries.
Steel Product Activity
September shipments of steel products from U.S. metals service centers totaled about 2.56 million tons, down 31.4% from
a year ago but slightly higher than August shipments. Year-to-date, steel shipments of nearly 22.4 million tons are down 41.2%
from the same period last year.
Monthly steel inventories, which peaked at 11 million tons
in August 2008, rose for the first month since then to 5.79 million tons, or 3% higher than at the end of August, although
still 45.7% lower than in September 2008. At current shipping rates, that represents a 2.3-month supply.
Canadian service center steel shipments totaled 455,100 tons in September, 14.8% lower than a year ago but 9.5% higher
than in August. Shipments for the first nine months of the year total 3.7 million tons, or 30.4% below the same period in
2008. Canadian steel inventories inched higher to 957,300 tons, or 33.9% below the level of a year ago, but 0.17% higher than
in August. At current shipping rates, those end-of-September inventories represent an unusually low 2.1-month supply.
Aluminum Product Activity
September shipments of aluminum products from U.S. metals
service centers totaled 86,400 tons, or 37% lower than during the same month last year. Shipments for the first nine months
of 786,500 tons are down 41.7% from the same period in 2008. U.S. aluminum inventories at the end of September totaled 254,700
tons, down about 2.5% from August and off 43.5% from a year ago. At current shipping rates, that total represents a 2.9-month
supply of aluminum.
In Canada, aluminum shipments from metals service centers totaled 11,100
tons, or 24.3% below the same month a year ago. Shipments for the first nine months of 2009, at 96,200 tons, are down 25.3%
from last year. Canadian inventories of aluminum products slipped to 28,700 tons, 2.4% below August inventories and 22.4%
lower than a year ago. At current shipping rates, that represents a 2.6-month supply.
Activity Report (MAR), based on data from metals service centers in the U.S. and Canada, is produced by the Metals Service
Center Institute and a third-party econometrics and strategy firm, McCoy, Scott & Co.
in 1909, the Metals Service Center Institute has more than 375 members operating from about 1,200 locations in the U.S., Canada,
Mexico, and elsewhere in the world. MSCI members constitute the largest single group of metals purchasers in North America.
MSCI’s membership also includes almost ferrous and non-ferrous industrial metals producers in North America. Metals
service centers inventory and distribute metals and provide first-stage fabrication services.