Steel Mills

U.S. Steel Service Center Inventories Hit Bottom, Slowly Bouncing Back

Written by John Packard

Steel service centers in the United States have seen inventories reach a bottom after years of decline and appear to be slowly bouncing back (see graphic below). This appears to be true for all steel products combined as well as flat rolled, plate, and pipe & tube segments.

During the month of February 2017, U.S. steel service centers shipped a total of 3,126,500 tons of all steel products. This is 1.7 percent below last February and has to be considered a disappointment after the 9.4 percent growth seen the prior month.

Distributors shipped 156,300 tons per day which is much better than the 151,400 tons per day reported by the Metal Service Center Institute (MSCI) last year.

For the year to date the domestic service centers have shipped 6,466,900 tons of steel which is 3.8 percent above the first two months 2016.

As of the end of February inventories of all steel products stood at 7,341,700 net tons down 6.4 percent from last year but slightly higher than the 7,341,700 tons reported as of the end of January 2017. The number of month’s supply is now 2.3 based on the data received from the MSCI.

Carbon Flat Rolled

Carbon flat rolled service centers shipped a total of 2,102,800 tons of sheet and coil during the month of February 2017. The shipment rate was 2.4 percent below last February while the 105,100 tons shipped per day was above the 102,600 tons per day reported last February.

Through the first two months of 2017 domestic distributors shipped 4,376,100 tons of carbon flat rolled which is 3.5 percent better than last year totals after two months.

Distributor inventories stood at 4,614,100 net tons at the end of the month, slightly lower than the 4,625,100 tons reported as of the end of January. Inventories are now 10.5 percent below where they were reported for February 2016 and the number of month’s supply on the service center floors stands at 2.2 months (up from 2.0 months from the previous month).

Carbon Plate

Carbon plate shipments totaled 291,800 tons for February. Shipments were 1.8 percent better than last year. Distributors shipped 14,500 tons per day of plate products.

Year-to-date the U.S. plate service centers shipped 581,100 tons of plate which is 5.4 percent better than last year.

Inventories of plate stood at 737,000 tons which is 1.8 percent above year ago levels and, 400 tons below January 2017 levels.

The number of month’s supply on hand as of the end of February is 2.5 according to the MSCI.

Carbon Pipe & Tube

U.S. distributors shipped 186,600 tons of pipe and tube products during the month of February. This is 7.9 percent below year ago levels. Distributors shipped 9,300 tons per ton.

For the year, distributors have shipped 381,400 tons of pipe & tube which is down 3 percent from last year.

Inventories steel at 487,400 tons, down 14.2 percent from year ago levels. U.S. service centers are holding 2.6 month’s supply as of the end of February.

Latest in Steel Mills