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September 17, 2008

Steel, Aluminum Shipments Decline Sharply in U.S., Canada

September 17, 2008

Steel, Aluminum Shipments Decline Sharply in U.S., Canada

ROLLING MEADOWS, Illinois, September 17, 2008 – Steel shipments by metals service centers in the United States and Canada declined at double-digit rates in August, and aluminum shipments fell sharply as well, as economic uncertainty reduced orders to the minimum amounts required. Inventory-to-shipment ratios rose to higher levels for steel in both countries and in aluminum in the United States.

Steel Product Activity

Shipments of steel products by U.S. metals service centers declined in August to 3.87 million tons, down 16.8% from year-ago volume. Year-to-date shipments totaled 34.2 million tons, down 5.3% from the first eight months of 2007. At the end of August, steel inventories totaled 13.1 million tons, 0.5% higher than at the end of August 2007 and, at current shipping rates, a 3.4-month supply.

Steel shipments from Canadian metals service centers fell 18.2% from year-earlier levels, to 258,200 tons, while shipments for the year to date, at 2.4 million tons, were down 4.6% from a year ago. Inventories of 1.16 million tons were 2.5% lower than at the end of August 2007 and, at current shipping rates, equal to a 4.5-month supply.

Aluminum Product Activity

Shipments of aluminum products from U.S. metals service centers in August fell 16.1% from year-ago levels, to 86,000 tons, and year-to-date shipments of 738,900 tons were down 7.3% from the same period in 2007. Aluminum inventories totaled 274,600 tons, down 11.1% from the end of August 2007 and, at current shipping rates, equal to a 3.2-month supply.

In Canada, August aluminum shipments fell 8.7%, to 9,300 tons, from year-earlier volume. Year-to-date shipments of 80,200 tons were down 1.6% from the same period last year. Aluminum inventories totaled 26,400 tons, 6.5% lower than a year ago and, at current shipping rates, equal to a 2.8-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. MSCI tracks the relationships between many external economic variables and MAR shipment levels on a regular basis. The statistical validity of these relationships describes the credibility of the MSCI data and the importance of the metals distribution channel to the manufacturing economy as a whole.

Founded in 1909, the Metals Service Center Institute has more than 420 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 65 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