Steel Mills

Flat Rolled Steel Inventories Up 18% YOY

Written by John Packard

Yesterday the Metal Service Center Institute (MSCI) released their inventory and shipment data. According to the latest data total steel inventories dropped by 0.40 percent from the previous month and stood at 9,312,500 tons as of the end of October. Although down from the prior month steel inventories were 15.5 percent higher than October 2013. Inventories continue to be well below the averages seen prior to the beginning of the Recession. In October 2007 inventories (all products) totaled 10,478,400 tons. The monthly average compiled over the past 27 years is 9,993,800 tons.

There were 23 shipping days in October 2014 and the U.S. service centers shipped a total of 3,911,300 net tons which was 6.8 percent higher than the prior month and 3.2 percent higher than October 2013 which also had 23 shipping days. The tons distributors shipped 170,100 tons per day and the months of supply on hand dropped from 2.6 month to 2.4 months (not seasonally adjusted).

Carbon Flat Rolled

Service centers shipped 2,521,100 tons of flat rolled during the month of October. This is 5.2 percent higher than the prior month and 3.0 percent higher than October 2013.

The daily shipping rate was 109,613 tons down from September’s daily rate of 111,700 tons per day but above October 2013 rate of 107,017 tons per day.

Inventories for carbon flat rolled stood at 5,598,000 tons down 23,800 tons over the prior month. The number of months on hand stood at 2.2 months versus 2.4 months (not seasonally adjusted) reported at the end of September.

A note for our Premium level members. We will post a detailed article regarding the SMU Apparent Inventory Excess/Deficit where we had projected the excess inventory levels as growing in October. The numbers came in not quite as high as we had projected but we weren’t that far off either. We will supply our revised forecast on Wednesday.


Total plate shipments were 415,500 tons or 18,043 tons per day. Shipments are up 7.9 percent over the previous month and 7.0 percent over the prior year. This is the first month since March 2012 that plate shipments exceeded 400,000 tons. Last year plate shipments totaled 388,300 tons.

Plate inventories at the U.S. service centers totaled 1,243,800 tons up a modest 0.3 percent over the prior month but 25.5 percent above levels seen one year ago when the distributors held 990,900 tons on their floors.  The number of months on hand at the end of October was 3.0 (not seasonally adjusted) which is the same as the prior month.

Pipe & Tube

U.S. distributors shipped 257,200 tons of pipe and tube according to the MSCI data. The daily shipment rate was 11,183 tons per day. Shipments were up 5.2 percent over last month and 3.0 percent over October 2013. October 2014 was the largest shipping month since October 2008 when distributors shipped 293,100 tons of pipe and tube.

Inventories stood at 683,700 tons at the end of October. This is a small 0.6 percent increase over September levels and is down 4.2 percent from October 2014. The number of months on hand stood at 2.7 months (not seasonally adjusted) which was the same as what we saw at the end of September 2014.

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