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Shipment Growth Rate of Steel and Aluminum Slows
Sep 1, 2010
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The rate of growth of steel and aluminum shipments from metals service centers in the United States and Canada slowed in July. Inventories of both metals - in terms of months of supply on hand - rose for both metals in both countries, according to the Metals Activity Report from the Metals Service Center Institute.

July shipments of steel products from U.S. metals service centers rose 14.5% above year-earlier levels to about 2.87 million tons. This compares with year-over-year growth of 30.8% and 29.4% in June and May, respectively.

Steel shipments for the first seven months of the year totaled nearly 20.5 million tons, or 18.4% above the same period in 2009. U.S. steel inventories at the end of July of 7.46 million tons were 30.2% higher than a year ago. At current shipping rates, that stockpile equals a 2.6-month supply, up from a 2.3-month supply at the end of June and 2.4 months at the end of May.

Shipments of steel from Canadian metals centers in July totaled 421,900 tons, or 5.9% more than during the 2009 month. This compares with year-over-year growth of 28.6% in June and 23.3% in May. Shipments for the first seven months of the year of about 3.3 million tons were 15.2% higher than those of the same period last year. Canadian steel inventories of about 1.3 million tons were 29.7% above those at the end of July 2009 and, at current shipping rates, equal to a 3.1-month supply. This compares with inventories equal to a 2.6-month supply at the end of June, and 3.0 months at the end of May.

Shipments of aluminum products from U.S. metals service centers in July totaled 118,000 tons, or 31.6% more than in July 2009. June shipments were 37.7% above those of a year earlier. For the first seven months of the year, U.S. aluminum shipments totaled 733,800 tons, a rise of 19.5% above the year-ago period. Inventories at the end of July of 317,900 tons were 19.3% higher than a year ago and equal to a 2.7-month supply at current shipping rates. This compares with a 2.5-month supply at the end of June.

Canadian service center aluminum shipments of 9900 tons in July were 1.3% above those of a year ago; monthly shipments were up 12.2% in June and 11.6% in May over the same month in 2009. For the year to date, shipments of 78,500 tons were 4.8% above those of the same 2009 period. Canadian aluminum inventories at the end of July totaled 32,000 tons, or 4.7% more than in the same month last year. At current shipping rates, that equals a 3.2-month supply, compared with a 2.4-month supply at the end of June.

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