Metals service centers in the U.S. increased their shipments of steel and aluminum during August, and posted improvements in their inventory positions, too. Meanwhile, in Canada, service centers’ deliveries declined at a somewhat reduced rate. The figures are drawn from the Metals Service Center Institute’s monthly Metals Activity Report, which details shipment and inventory totals for steel and aluminum at service centers across North America.

Service center shipments correspond to a substantial volume of the metals consumed by machine shops and fabricators, and the activities at those operations are a reflection of industrial activity in the North America.

U.S. service centers shipped 3.34 million tons of steel products during August, 15.7% more than during July and 2.1% more than during August 2015. The daily shipping rate increased by one ton (to 146.9 tons/day) from the July report, and the year-to-date steel shipments total rose to 25.7 million tons – a figure that is 6.9% lower than the eight-month total for 2015.

Steel inventories at U.S. centers totaled 7.85 million tons at the end of August, up less than 1% from the July inventory and down 14.5% from the August 2015 inventory total. At their current shipping rate, U.S. service centers are estimated to have a 2.3-month supply of steel products.

Steel shipments by Canadian service centers totaled 364,800 tons during August, rising 14.5% from July and falling 6.1% from the August 2015 report. The August daily shipping rate rose just over half a ton to 16.6 tons/day, and the year-to-date steel shipments total rose to 2.99 million tons, 8.1% less than the eight-month total for the previous year.

Canadian centers’ steel inventories rose 4.4% from the previous month, finishing August at 1.15 million tons, which is 18.0% lower than the inventory total at the comparable point of 2015. At their current shipping rate, MSCI estimated the Canadian service centers have a 3.1-month supply of steel products.

As for aluminum, U.S. service centers shipped 137,900 tons of aluminum products during August, 16.9% more than during July and 4.7% more than during August 2015. The daily shipping rate increased slightly to 6.0 tons/day, lifting the year-to-date aluminum deliveries total to 1.03 million tons, or 4.7% less than the January-August 2015 total.

U.S. centers’ aluminum inventories at the end of August were reported at 385,300 tons, 2.6% less than the July inventory and 2.3% less than the August 2015 total. At their current rate of deliveries, MSCI estimated that U.S. service centers are holding a 2.8-month supply of aluminum.

Canada’s service centers shipped 11,000 tons of aluminum during August, 2.5% more than the July shipment total but 9.2% less than the August 2015 result. The average daily shipping rate ticked up to 500 tons/day during the month, which raised the year-to-date aluminum shipments total to 83,200 tons, or 12.4% less than the YTD aluminum shipment total for 2015.

Inventories of aluminum at Canadian centers slipped slightly below the July level to 31,200 tons for August, which is down 18.7% from the August 2015 level, and is estimated as equal to 2.9 months’ supply at the current shipping rates.