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April 18, 2007

U.S. Steel and Aluminum Shipments Decline, with a Continued Reduction in Steel Inventories; Canadian Inventories Slightly Higher

April 18, 2007

U.S. Steel and Aluminum Shipments Decline, with a Continued Reduction in Steel Inventories; Canadian Inventories Slightly Higher

ROLLING MEADOWS, Illinois, April 18, 2007 – Inventories of steel products at U.S. metals service centers fell again in March as shipments of steel dipped more than 10% from year-ago levels and aluminum shipments fell nearly 6%, the Metals Activity Report from the Metals Service Center Institute shows. But in Canada, the inventory correction appears to be ending, with month-end stocks on hand of both industrial metals rising slightly.

 

Steel Product Activity

U.S. inventories of steel products fell to about 14.8 million tons by the end of March, down from about 15.8 million tons in February and 9.9% above inventory levels at the end of March 2006. At current shipping rates, steel on hand represented a 3.1-month supply, down from 3.7 months in February. Steel product shipments, when compared to year-earlier volume, fell for the seventh consecutive month, to nearly 4.8 million tons. For the year to date, shipments of 13.7 million tons are down 6.6% from the end of the first quarter in 2006.

Inventories of steel products at Canadian metals service centers rose slightly to 1.24 million tons, or 18% more than at the end of March 2006. At current shipping rates, this represented a 3.6-month supply, the lowest level since June 2006. Shipments of 341,900 tons were 7.5% lower than shipments in March 2006, and year-to-date shipments of 985,600 tons are down 5.8% from the same period last year.

 

Aluminum Product Activity

Shipments of aluminum products from U.S. service centers, at 110,000 tons, were 5.8% below year-ago volume, while first-quarter shipments of 311,500 tons were down 2.6%. U.S. aluminum inventories at the end of March totaled 364,800 tons, slightly more than in February and 5.9% more than the end of March 2006. At current shipping levels, this represented a 3.3-month supply, a decline from the 3.8-month supply on hand at the end of February.

Canadian service centers shipped 10,700 tons of aluminum products in March, a decline of 8.3% from year-earlier totals. First-quarter Canadian aluminum volume of 30,600 tons was down 4.2%. Inventories stood at 29,400 tons at the end of March, a 6.7% decline from March 2006 but up slightly from February. At current shipping rates, this represented a 2.7-month supply of aluminum.

 

About MSCI

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 or 708-280-2904

cmarti@msci.org

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

sweiner@msci.org