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June 21, 2006

U.S., Canadian Steel, Aluminum Inventory-to-Sales Ratios Improved in May; Shipments Rise for Both Metals

June 21, 2006

U.S., Canadian Steel, Aluminum Inventory-to-Sales Ratios Improved in May; Shipments Rise for Both Metals

ROLLING MEADOWS, Illinois, June 21, 2006 – Shipments of steel and aluminum products by U.S. and Canadian metals service centers rose sharply in year-to-year comparisons during May. Inventory levels of both metals, expressed in terms of months of inventory on hand at the end of May, declined in both nations, the MSCI Metals Activity Report shows.

 

U.S. Service Center Activity

U.S. metals service centers shipped nearly 5.3 million tons of steel products during May, up 15.5% from May 2005. That brought year-to-date steel shipments to 24.5 million tons, or 5.6% more than during the five-month period last year.

At the end of May, steel product inventories stood at nearly 14.3 million tons, down 7.8% from a year ago. At the current shipping rate, this represents a 2.7-month supply, down a substantial 20.2% from last year and 11.8% from the end of April 2006.

Shipments of aluminum products totaled 107,400 tons in May, or 10.7% higher than in May 2005. Year-to-date shipments of aluminum products totaled 524,900 tons, or 6.7% more than in the 2005 period.

May month-end aluminum product inventories at U.S. service centers totaled 352,500 tons, down 6.2% from May 2005. At the current shipping rate, this represents a 3.3-month supply, a decrease of 15.3% from the end of May 2005 and down 7.5% from the end of April 2006.

 

Canadian Service Center Activity

Canadian metals service centers, reversing a year-over-year decline in steel shipments that began in February, shipped 380,100 tons of steel products during May, or 4.7% more than May 2005 shipments. For the first five months of the year, steel shipments totaled about 1.8 million tons, a decrease of 1.2% from the 2005 period.

Steel product inventories in Canada totaled almost 1.2 million tons at the end of May, a decrease of 4.3% from the year-ago month. At the current shipping rate, this represents a 3.1-month supply, down 8.6% from last year and 6.2% lower than the end of April 2006.

Shipments of aluminum products totaled 11,100 tons during May, an increase of 12.2% from May 2005. Year-to-date aluminum shipments as of the end of May totaled 51,200 tons or 6.6% more than the same period last year.

Aluminum-product inventories at the end of May were 30,500 tons, down 4.6% from May 2005. At the current shipping rate, this represents a 2.8-month supply in Canada, a decrease of 4.9% from last year and down 11.6% from April.

 

About MSCI

Founded in 1907, 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 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, Readmore Communications, (847) 485-3011

sweiner@msci.org