Shipments by steel and aluminum service centers showed signs of improvement during October, following two consecutive months of slowing delivery voslume, according to details of the monthly Metals Activity Report released by the Metals Service Center Institute. The report covers shipments and inventory levels at service centers in the U.S. and Canada, based on data supplied by participating member companies.

U.S. service centers shipped 3,510,400 tons of steel products during October, a 14% increase over September’s shipments of 3,078,900. The new result is also a 3.9% improvement on the October 2011 shipment total, 3,378,100, and brings the U.S. centers’ total 2012 shipments to 35,620,500. That represents a 3.4% increase over the 2011 10-month total.

Those same U.S. service centers have steel product inventories totaling 8,447,600 tons as of the end of October, a 3.6% decline versus total steel inventories reported at the end of September, but an increase of 0.8% over the October 2011 inventory report. At the current shipping rate, MSCI estimates that service centers have a 2.4-months supply of steel available, which is 3.0% less than the volume in stock at the close of October 2011.

Canada’s service centers shipped 523,400 tons of steel products during October, improving by 11.4% their September total of 469,900 tons. Even so, the new result trails by 1.1% the result from October 2011, 529,400 tons. From January through October, Canadian centers have shipped 5,280,900 tons of steel products, 1.0% less than the total shipped during the first 10 months of 2011.

Steel product inventory levels in Canada amount to 1,652,600 tons, rising 1.4% versus the inventory total a month ago, and 11.2% higher than the total reported for October 2011. At their current rate of shipment, Canada’s steel service centers have a 3.2-months supply of material available. That is an increase of 12.5% over their October 2011 inventory volume.