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March 19, 2007

Steel Shipments, Inventories Continue to Decline; Aluminum Shipments Lower than Year Ago, Inventories Down

March 19, 2007

Steel Shipments, Inventories Continue to Decline; Aluminum Shipments Lower than Year Ago, Inventories Down

ROLLING MEADOWS, Illinois – North American steel shipments from metals service centers continued a six-month, year-over-year decline in February, while inventories, which peaked last fall in the U.S. and Canada, also moved lower, the Metals Activity Report from the Metals Service Center Institute shows. At this stage, steel inventory liquidation, which began four or five months ago, is expected to continue into the second quarter.

Aluminum shipments also fell in February compared with year-ago volume, with lower inventories of aluminum products reported in both countries.

 

Steel Product Activity

Shipments of steel products from U.S. service centers fell 6.7% in February, to 4.26 million tons, compared with February 2006 shipments of nearly 4.57 million tons. Canadian steel shipments of 306,700 tons were down 5.1% from year-earlier levels, marking the seventh consecutive month of year-over-year steel shipment declines. For the year to date, U.S shipments are down 4.5%, while Canadian shipments are 4.8% lower.

U.S. steel inventories, which peaked in October at nearly 16.8 million tons, totaled just 15.8 million tons at the end of February. That amount was 18.2% more than at the same time last year. At current shipping rates, this was equal to a 3.7-month supply, well above the 2.9-month supply of February 2006 and slightly higher than in January 2007.

Canadian steel product inventories were about 1.24 million tons at the end of February, down slightly from January but still 20.1% higher than a year ago. At current shipping rates, this represents a 4.0-month supply, compared with a 3.2-month supply on hand at the end of February 2006 and slightly more than at the end of January.

 

Aluminum Product Activity

U.S. shipments of aluminum products totaled 96,500 tons, or 4.0% less than in February 2006. On a year-to-date basis, U.S. aluminum shipments are down 0.8% at 201,500 tons. Canadian shipments of 9,700 tons of aluminum products were down 4.1% from a year ago and are off 1.9% for the year to date at 19,900 tons.

U.S. aluminum inventories of 362,800 tons at the end of February were 3.9% higher than a year earlier and represent a 3.8-month supply, or up slightly from January 2007 and from February 2006. Canadian inventories of 29,300 tons of aluminum products were down 5.2% from a year ago and, in terms of months of supply, flat with January’s supply of 3.0 months 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. 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.

 

About MSCI

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 or 708-280-2904

cmarti@msci.org

Steve Weiner, Readmore Communications, (847) 485-3011

sweiner@msci.org