Service centers’ shipments of steel and aluminum declined in total volume from January to February, though the daily shipping rates were generally even with January and the volumes were slightly better than the February 2013 totals.  The data is contained in the Metal Service Center Institute’s February Metals Activity Report. MSCI is a trade association for service centers and metal processors across North America. It prepares the monthly summary of steel and aluminum shipments from data reported by member companies in the U.S. and Canada, and tracks inventory levels at those locations.

Generally, the February results were stronger for steel than for aluminum, and the U.S. results were more positive than the Canadian results.

However, the report reveals some inventory building by service centers’ in both countries.

U.S. service center’s steel shipments fell 7.3% from January to February, totaling 3.38 million tons for the month, and averaging 169.0 tons/day. The two-month total for 2014 U.S. steel shipments rose to 7.03 million tons, a 0.2% improvement over the 2013 two-month total.

U.S. centers’ steel inventories rose 0.3% during February, to 8.58 million tons, and 0.8% from the year-ago (February 2013) inventory total. MSCI estimated that the available inventory represents a 2.5-month supply of steel at U.S. service centers’ current delivery rate.

In Canada, steel shipments by service centers declined 9.4% from January, settling at 448,500 tons for February, a daily rate of 22.4 tons. That figure is 3.2% less than the year-ago result. Through the first two months of this year, the Canadian centers have shipped 943,800 tons, 4.2% less than during January-February 2013.

Canada’s service center steel inventories slipped 1.1% during the past month, now totaling 1.4 million tons – which MSCI projects to be a 3.1-month supply at the current rate of deliveries.

Aluminum deliveries from U.S. centers slipped 7.3% from January to February, to 124,500 tons, though that signified an improvement of 8.9% over the February 2013 total. The daily shipping rate ticked up to 6.2 tons/day, and the year-to-date total rose to 258,800 tons – a 7.7% year-on-year increase.

Inventories of aluminum fell 1.2% from January, now siting at 377,800 tons across the U.S. service centers. MSCI estimates that total as equal to a 3.0-month supply.

The Canadian service centers delivered 12.0 tons of aluminum during February, a decline of 12.4% from January, and a 0.3% increase from February 2013. The daily shipping rate held steady at 0.6 tons.

The year-to-date total for Canadian aluminum deliveries is 25.6 tons, a 0.6% change from January-February 2013.

With total inventories rising 4.0% from January, the Canadian outlets now have 39.3 tons in stock, a 3.3-month supply at the current delivery rate.