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January 19, 2010

Steel, Aluminum Inventories Rise in U.S., Canada

January 19, 2010

Steel, Aluminum Inventories Rise in U.S., Canada

ROLLING MEADOWS, Illinois, January 19, 2010 – Inventories of steel and aluminum products at metals service centers in the United States and Canada rose slightly in December as shipments of those products declined seasonally, the Metals Activity Report from the Metals Service Center Institute shows. Final 2009 shipment numbers demonstrate how significantly the recession impacted the industrial metals industry. But, for the first time in more than a year, the monthly rate of decline in steel shipments moved into the single digits in the United States and were flat in Canada.

Steel Product Activity

December shipments of steel products from U.S. metals service centers totaled 2.24 million tons, a decline of just 5.5% compared with December 2008 volume. In all, 2009 steel product shipments totaled nearly 29.6 million tons, a year-over-year decline of 36.8%. Year-end steel inventories totaled 6.14 million tons, down 29.0% from the end of 2008. At current shipping rates, that stockpile equaled a 2.7-month supply.

Canadian service center steel shipments totaled 322,400 tons in December, identical to shipments in December 2009. Canadian steel shipments for all of 2009 were down 26.4%, to 4.92 million tons. Canadian service center steel inventories at the end of December were 1.04 million tons, or 10.5% lower than a year ago and equal, at current shipping rates, to a 3.2-month supply.

Aluminum Product Activity

December shipments of aluminum products from U.S. service centers totaled 79,100 tons, 16.5% lower than December 2008 shipments. Total U.S. service center aluminum shipments of 1.04 million tons were 38.4% below 2008 volume. Aluminum inventories at the end of the year of 279,000 tons were 21.7% lower than a year ago and, at current shipping rates, equal to a 3.5-month supply.

In Canada, aluminum shipments from metals service centers totaled 7,700 tons in December, or 20.1% below year-ago volume. Canadian service centers shipped 125,500 tons of aluminum in 2009, a decline of 24.2% from 2008 shipments. The year-end inventory of aluminum products in Canada was 29,200 tons, 13.1% below a year ago and, at current shipping rates, equal to a 3.8-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