Deliveries of steel and aluminum products by North American metal service centers rose by double digits from April to May, largely reversing a similar decline during the previous month, and also maintaining a solid lead over the May 2016 levels. Relatedly, service centers’ inventories of steel and aluminum products measured steady declines during the most recent month.

The Metals Service Center Institute in its latest Metals Activity Report reported the results. That monthly report summarizes shipments and inventories for steel and aluminum products at service centers in the U.S. and Canada. Both service center shipments and inventories are used as an index to manufacturing activity, as both correspond to a substantial volume of the metals consumed by machine shops, fabricators, and other manufacturers.

MSCI has more than 330 members, with 1,200 locations in North America.

Steel product shipments by U.S. service centers totaled 3.43 million tons during May, rising 10.3% from April and 7.9% from May 2016. The daily shipping rate declined by 7,800 tons from April to 155,900 tons/day during May. The five-month total for steel products shipments rose to 16.7 million tons, 4.0% higher than the January-May 2016 total.

As for inventories, U.S. service centers reported 7.24 million tons of steel products in store as of May 31, 0.7% less than the April inventory and 4.5% less than the May 2016 inventory. At the current rate of deliveries, MSCI estimated that U.S. centers are holding the equivalent of a 2.1-month inventory.

The Canadian service centers shipped 415,000 ton of steel products during May, 14.5% more than during April and 6.8% more than during May 2016. The daily shipping rate declined by 200 tons to 18,900 tons/day, and the year-to-date total for Canadian service centers increased to 1.98 million tons, 1.9% more than last year’s January-May total.

Inventories of steel products at Canadian service centers declined 2.9% from April to 1.11 million tons at the end of May, measuring 3.5% less than May 2016’s inventory total. At the current rate of deliveries, the MSCI estimated that Canadian service centers have a 2.7-month supply of steel products in stock.

U.S. service centers shipped 142,300 tons of aluminum products during May, 11.6% more than during April and 11.5% more than during May 2016. The daily shipping rate declined by 200 tons to 6,500 tons/day, and the YTD total for aluminum shipments rose to 685,400 tons, 6.5% over the January-May 2016 total.

Aluminum inventories at U.S. service centers totaled 393,900 tons at the close of May, 3.6% more than the April total and 2.1% more than the May 2016 total. The available inventory is estimated by MSCI to be a 2.8-month supply.

Canadian service centers shipped 11,200 tons of aluminum products during May, 16.7% more than during April and 3.3% more than during May 2016. The latest month’s daily shipping rate remained steady for the fifth consecutive month at 500 tons/day. Through the first five months of 2017 the Canadian service centers have shipped 52,100 tons of aluminum products, 0.8% less than the January-May 2016 total for aluminum shipments.

Inventories of aluminum products at Canadian service centers totaled 30,500 tons a the end of May, 4.1% less than for April and 2.2% less than for May 2016. The current total is equal to a 2.7-month supply of aluminum, according to MSCI.