Metals service center shipments of steel products in the U.S. and Canada fell by nearly 30% for a second consecutive month in December, according to the latest Metals Activity Report from the Metals Service Center Institute. As indicated by the report, steel inventories continued a steady decline in year-over-year comparisons, with U.S. service center inventories declining once again in December.
Steel Product Activity
According to the report, steel product shipments from U.S. metals service centers fell to about 2.4 million tons in December, a 29.3% drop from year-earlier volume. Full-year 2008 U.S. steel shipments—about 46.8 million tons—were down 10.6% from 2007. By the end of December, steel inventories had reached 8.6 million tons, about 16.1% below December 2007 stocks; at current shipping rates, this volume is equal to a 3.6-month supply.
In Canada, December steel shipments from metals service centers totaled 322,400 tons, a 29.2% drop from December 2007. Full-year 2008 Canadian steel shipments of about 6.7 million tons were 10.9% below 2007 annual volume. By the end of December, Canadian steel inventories had reached about 1.2 million tons, 34% below year-end 2007 stocks; at current shipping rates, this volume represents a 3.6-month supply.
Aluminum product shipments from U.S. metals service centers totaled 94,800 tons in December, a 22% decline from December 2007. Full-year 2008 aluminum shipments totaled about 1.7 million tons, down 9.3% from 2007. By the end of December, U.S. aluminum inventories totaled 356,500 tons, 20% lower than a year ago; at current shipping rates, this volume is equal to a 3.8-month supply.
In Canada, metals service centers shipped 9,700 tons of aluminum products in December, down 8.6% from the same month a year ago. Full-year 2008 shipments of 165,600 tons of aluminum were 3.0% lower than 2007 volume. At the end of December, Canadian aluminum inventories had reached 33,600 tons, about 24.9% lower than a year ago; at current shipping rates, this volume is equal to a 3.5-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 420 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 60 million tons of steel, aluminum, and other metals, with about 300,000 manufacturers and fabricators as customers. MSCI’s membership also includes most ferrous and non-ferrous industrial metals producers in North America. Metals service centers inventory and distribute metals and provide first-stage fabrication services.