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September 22, 2005

Aluminum Shipments Rise, Steel Shipments Recover in August

September 22, 2005

Aluminum Shipments Rise, Steel Shipments Recover in August

ROLLING MEADOWS, Illinois, September 22, 2005 – Shipments of aluminum products rose at U.S. and Canadian metals service centers in August, while shipments of steel products in both nations largely recovered from declines reported in July, the MSCI Metals Activity Report (MAR) shows.

Steel inventories at U.S. service centers were lower at the end of August in both year-over-year and month-to-month comparisons, while year-over-year inventories of aluminum products were higher at the end of August than at the end of August 2004. Steel inventories at Canadian service centers were lower at the end of August then year-earlier and month-earlier levels, while aluminum inventories were up in both year-over-year and month-to-month comparisons. 

 

U.S. Service Center Activity

U.S. service centers shipped 5.02 million tons of steel products in August 2005, an increase of 0.6% over the same month a year ago. Year-to-date shipments of steel from U.S. service centers of 37.06 million tons were down 3.5% from the same period in 2004.

The steel inventory to sales ratio dropped dramatically in August at U.S. service centers to just 2.7 months of supply on hand, the lowest level since the first half of 2004. Steel inventories at the end of August were nearly 13.39 million tons, down 7.5% from August 2004 and a decrease of 6.5% from last month. The 2.7-month supply at month’s end was down 8.0% from a year ago, and a decrease of 24.0% from July 2005.

Service center shipments of aluminum products of 103,900 tons in August were up 10.5% from August 2004 and marked the 20th consecutive month of year-over-year increases in aluminum shipments fromU.S. service centers. Year-to-date shipments of aluminum of 797,600 tons were 7.4% higher at the end of August than in the same period of 2004.

Aluminum inventories at U.S. service centers, 367,400 tons, were 11.9% higher than at the end of August 2004 but down 0.4% from July. At the current shipping rate, this represents a 3.5-month supply of aluminum, down 10.4% from July 2005.

 

Canadian Service Center Activity

Canadian service center steel shipments totaled 357,700 tons in August, a decrease of 0.8% from August 2004. Year-to-date shipments of nearly 2.79 million tons are down 7.0% from the same period in 2004.

Steel product inventories at Canadian service centers totaled 1.07 million tons at the end of August, a decrease of 2.3% from August 2005 and down 3.4% from last month. At the current shipping rate, this represents a 3.0-month inventory supply, a decrease of 1.5% from a year ago and a decrease of 22.3% from July 2005.

August shipments of aluminum products from Canadian service centers rose 8.8%, to 10,100 tons, compared with August 2004 shipments. Year-to-date shipments of 76,800 tons of aluminum are 2.8% higher than the same period a year ago.

Canadian service center aluminum inventories of 32,000 tons were up 16.9% from a year ago and 2.3% from July. At current shipping rates, this is a 3.2-month supply, up 7.5% from a year ago but down 19.5% from July 2005.

 

About MSCI

Founded in 1907, the Metals Service Center Institute has more than 375 members operating from about 1,200 locations in the U.S., Canada, Mexico, and elsewhere around the world. Together, MSCI members constitute the largest single group of metals purchasers in North America, amounting each year to more than 65 million tons of steel, aluminum, and other metals, with about 300,000 manufacturers and fabricators as customers. Metals service centers inventory and distribute metals and provide first-stage fabrication services.

 

Contacts:

Chris Marti, vice president, technology and research, (847) 485-3009

cmarti@msci.org

Steve Weiner, Readmore Communications, (847) 827-0002

steve@readmorecommunications.com