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May 18, 2009

Metal Center Steel, Aluminum Shipments Decline as Inventory Reduction Phase Continues in U.S., Canada

May 18, 2009

Metal Center Steel, Aluminum Shipments Decline as Inventory Reduction Phase Continues in U.S., Canada

ROLLING MEADOWS, Illinois, May 18, 2009 – Shipments of steel and aluminum products from U.S. and Canadian metals service centers declined sharply from 2008 volume in April, and inventory reductions continued, the Metals Activity Report from the Metals Service Center Institute shows. U.S. steel supplies and aluminum inventories fell in both countries, while a slight steel inventory increase in Canada was attributable to weak shipments.

 

Steel Product Activity

Shipments of steel products from U.S. metals service centers totaled about 2.5 million tons in April, a 47.2% decline from April 2008 volume. Shipments for the first four months of the year total nearly 10.1 million tons, down 43.2% from a year ago. Inventories of steel products at U.S. metals service centers totaled 7.1 million tons at the end of April, 30.9% lower than a year ago and, at current shipping rates, equal to a 2.9-month supply.

In Canada, metals service centers shipped 451,100 tons of steel products in April, or 31.1% less than year-ago volume. Canadian steel shipments for the year to date total about 1.7 million tons, a 34.5% reduction from the 2008 period. Steel inventories at the end of April totaled nearly 1.2 million tons, 27.5% lower than at the same time last year and, at current shipping rates, equal to a 2.6-month supply.

 

Aluminum Product Activity

April shipments of aluminum products from U.S. metals service centers totaled 91,400 tons, down 41.3% from a year ago, bringing year-to-date shipment totals to 352,900 tons, or 43.1% below the 2008 four-month period. U.S. metal center aluminum inventories totaled 298,500 tons at the end of April, down 35.9% from a year ago and equal to a 3.3-month supply at current shipping rates.

In Canada, April aluminum shipments totaled 11,000 tons, down 27% from April 2008 volume. Year-to-date aluminum shipment totals of 43,900 tons are down 25.4% from last year. The end-of-month aluminum inventory of 31,100 tons was 17.3% lower than at the end of April 2008 and equal to a 2.8-month supply at current shipping rates.

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 400 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