Steel Mills

Service Center Shipments & Inventories Slip

Written by John Packard

Steel service centers based in the United States shipped and received fewer tons of steel products during the month of May, according to data just released by the Metal Service Center Institute (MSCI). Shipments of all steel products totaled 3,204,800 net tons at a daily shipment rate of 152,600 tons. Last month the daily rate was 154,600 tons and last year it was 164,000 tons per day.

Distributor inventories dropped to 7,581,200 tons which is 18.9 percent below year ago levels. The months on hand are at 2.4 the same as last month.

Carbon Flat Rolled

Distributors in the U.S. shipped 2,179,300 tons of flat rolled at a daily shipment rate of 103,800 tons. The tons shipped were 1.5 percent better than year ago levels (due to the number of days). The daily shipment rate, which we consider to be more relevant, was down slightly from the 104,700 tons shipped during the month of April and well below the 107,400 tons per day shipped during the month of May 2015.

Service center inventories of sheet products dropped to 4,768,200 tons by the end of the month of May. Inventories are 16.5 percent lower than year ago levels and are down 141,300 tons from the end of April.

The number of month’s supply continues to be 2.2 months for all sheet products.

Tomorrow we will produce our Service Center Inventories Apparent Excess/Deficit report and forecast for our Premium level members. We can tell you that we were too optimistic, especially regarding shipments of flat rolled steel, but we did correctly predict the distributors as slipping into an inventory deficit.

Carbon Plate

U.S. service centers shipped 278,600 tons of plate during the month of May. Shipments were 20.8 percent lower than year ago levels. The 13,300 ton per day shipping pace was down slightly from 13,700 tons per day pace registered during the month of April.

Plate inventories grew from 735,300 tons at the end of April to 766,500 tons by the end of May. Even with the growth plate inventories are one third (33.1 percent) lower than year ago levels. The number of months on the floor increased to 2.8 from 2.6 at the end of April.

Pipe & Tube

Pipe and tube shipments totaled 200,400 tons during the month of May according to the MSCI data. This is the second lowest shipment rate this year behind January which came in at 190,600 tons. Shipments are 2.2 percent lower than year ago levels. The daily shipment average for plate was 9,500 tons per day.

Inventories of plate remained stable at 555,200 tons compared to the 555,700 tons reported at the end of May. The number of months supply increased to 2.8 months from 2.7 at the end of April.

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