Metals shipments improve in October

Industry sees strong improvement after two months of declining conditions

The slowdown in shipments of steel and aluminum that began in August eased in October, with metals service centers in the United States and Canada reporting stable to growth conditions, according to the latest metals service center activity report from the Metals Service Center Institute. Steel shipments were up slightly in the United States and essentially flat in Canada while aluminum shipments returned to double-digit growth in Canada and fell only slightly in the United States. Inventory positions improved for both metals in both countries, MSCI said.

The downturn that began in August saw double-digit declines in both categories compared to 2011 levels, so the October report came as welcome news. And it followed other positive signals in the industrial sector, as the Institute for Supply Management’s Purchasing Manager’s Index for October rose for the second straight month following three consecutive months of decline.

Looking at metals shipments in particular, MSCI said U.S. service centers reported shipping 3.5 million tons of steel products in October, up 4% compared to October 2011. Aluminum shipments fell slightly to 125,000 tons.

In Canada, service centers shipped 523,400 tons of steel products in October, down just 1% compared to the same period a year ago. Canadian service centers shipped 14,000 tons of aluminum products during the month, a 14% increase compared to a year ago.

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