Steel Mills

U.S. Steel Service Centers: Shipments & Inventories

Written by John Packard

We will have two articles in tonight’s newsletter regarding the U.S. steel service centers shipment and inventories data just released by the Metals Service Center Institute (MSCI).

Shipments of all steel products totaled 3,246,000 tons during the month of April. This is 6.3 percent lower than April 2015 and was slightly lower than March. However, March had two more shipping days than April. U.S. distributors averaged 154,600 tons of steel shipments per day.

Inventories stood at 7,649,400 tons which is 19.3 percent lower than what was reported at the end of April 2015. The number of month’s supply stood at 2.4 up slightly from the 2.3 months reported at the end of April.

Carbon Flat Rolled

U.S. service centers reported shipments of 2,198,400 tons during the month of April 2016. The average daily shipment rate was 104,700 tons per day which is 7,800 tons higher than March and 1,700 tons greater than April 2015.

SMU forecast shipments to be 2,163,000 tons so we missed the mark by -35,000 tons.

Flat rolled inventories ended the month at 4,909,500 tons down 83,400 tons from the prior month. 2016 inventory levels are 15.6 percent lower than one year ago and the number of month’s supply remained at 2.2 months.

SMU forecast inventories to be slightly higher in April than March (by 48,000 tons) although our Apparent Excess model was for the Excess to drop from +268,000 tons to 214,000 tons. In actuality the Excess has dropped to +46,000 tons. We forecast receipts to be 5 percent less than the 3 year monthly average. In actuality it dropped by 13.4 percent.

With the Apparent Excess being at such low levels we expect flat rolled prices to remain firm as service centers struggle to replace inventories.

Carbon Plate

Plate shipments totaled 287,400 tons with a daily shipment rate of 13,700 tons per day. The daily shipment rate is slightly above March’s 13,300 tons per day but below year ago levels of 15,900 tons.

Inventories totaled 735,300 tons which is up slightly from the 729,000 tons reported at the end of March. The month’s on hand rose to 2.6 months from 2.4 months.

Carbon Pipe & Tubing

Pipe and tube shipments totaled 207,100 tons at a daily shipment rate of 9,900 tons per day, slightly higher than March’s 9,500 tons per day shipment rate.

Pipe and tube inventories totaled 555,700 tons almost exactly the same as last month’s 555,900 tons. Inventories are down 17.7 percent compared to one year ago. The number of months on hand rose to 2.7 months from March’s 2.6 months.

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