North American shipments of steel and aluminum products by service centers fell sharply in the during November, after some improvement in October. The results were reported by the Metals Service Center Institute in its monthly Metals Activity Report, noting that the latest month constituted a return to what has been sector’s trend in the second half of 2012.

The Metals Activity Report is based on actual data for steel and aluminum shipments reported by participating service centers.

MSCI reported that U.S. service centers shipped just 3,090,200 tons of steel in November, down 11.9% from the 3,510.400 tons shipped in October. The new figure also marks a 6.4% year-on-year decrease from the November 2011 shipment volume, 3,301,000 tons.

The November total brings the 2012 year-to-date steel shipments volume to 38,710,700 tons, a 2.5% rise over the eleven-month total for 2011.

U.S. service centers reported steel inventories of 8,171,500 tons as the month ended, a 3.3% decline compared to last month’s inventory level, and an increase of 0.9% over the November 2011 inventory volumes.

MSCI determined that, at their current shipping rates for steel, U.S. service centers have a 2.6-month of supply available, an increase of 7.8% from November 2011.

U.S. service centers delivered 109,100 tons of aluminum products during November, dropping 12.7% from October’s 125,000 tons, and decreasing 9.7% from November 2011’s 120,800 tons. For the first 11 months of 2012, U.S. centers have shipped 1,395,500 tons of aluminum, an increase of just 0.3% from 1,286,400 tons shipped from January through November 2011.

Aluminum inventories totaled 8,171,500 tons after the latest report, falling 1.7% from October to November, but increasing 1.6% versus the November 2011 stockpile.

The current rate of aluminum shipments indicates U.S. centers have a 3.3-month supply available, a drop of 1.7% from October but an increase of 12.5% from the November 2011 supply level computed by MSCI.