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September 17, 2009

Destocking Continues at U.S., Canadian Metal Centers

September 17, 2009

Destocking Continues at U.S., Canadian Metal Centers

ROLLING MEADOWS, Illinois, September 16, 2009 – Shipments of steel and aluminum from metals service centers in the United States and Canada rose slightly in August from weak July levels, but de-stocking continued, the Metals Activity Report from the Metals Service Center Institute shows. Steel inventory-to-sales ratios fell as depleted quantities of the metal in both countries reduced stocks to nearly a two-month supply.

Steel Product Activity

August steel shipments from metals service centers in the United States totaled nearly 2.55 million tons, a decline of 34.7% from August 2008 but a slight improvement over July volume of 2.50 million tons. For the first eight months of the year, U.S. metal center steel shipments totaled 19.8 million tons, or 42.3% below the same period last year. Inventories at the end of August totaled 5.62 million tons, 49% below a year ago and a record low level for this data series. At current shipping rates, U.S. steel inventories were equal to a 2.2-month supply.

In Canada, metals service center shipped 415,500 tons of steel, about 18.8% fewer tons than in the same month last year, but a small amount more than shipments of 398,500 tons recorded in July. Shipments for the first eight months of the year, of about 3.3 million tons, are down about 32.1% from the same period last year. At the end of August, Canadian metals centers held steel inventories of 955,600 tons, 42.6% fewer than a year ago and down, again, from July. At current shipping rates, Canadian inventories represent a 2.3-month supply of steel.

Aluminum Product Activity

U.S. metals service centers shipped 85,800 tons of aluminum during August, a decline of 38.8% from the same month last year. Shipments for the year to date of 700,100 tons are off 42.2% from this time last year. Inventories at the end of August totaled 261,200 tons, a little below July aluminum stockpiles and 42.4% lower than at this time last year. At current shipping rates, that represents a 3.0-month supply of the light metal.

Canadian metals centers shipped 10,200 tons of aluminum during August, an improvement on July’s shipments but down 23.7% from a year ago. For the first eight months of the year, Canadian aluminum shipments have totaled 85,000 tons, a decline of 25.5%. Month-end aluminum inventories in Canada of 29,400 tons are down further from July and off 20.3% from a year ago. At current shipping rates, that represents 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 1,200 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.

Contacts:

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

cmarti@msci.org

Steve Weiner (503) 646-9108

sweiner@msci.org