Service Center intake experienced a great increase in the last three months average y/y, with products such as Carbon Plate, seeing growth as high as 30.3%. This y/y growth serves as a good indicator for the industry, specifically with demand and shipment levels.
U.S. steel product shipments totaled 3.34 million tons for January 2017, 29.2% higher than the 2.59 million tons shipped in December 2016, and 9.4% higher than the 3.05 million tons shipped in January 2016, according to the latest MCSI data. The growth in shipment volumes could be a reflection of increased domestic demand, however economists state to remain cautious of the end-users pre-buying methods which could show a “false sense” of demand. The rhetoric of the new political climate could also be contributing to the increase of steel shipments, specifically in the construction industry.
Inventory levels have also decreased year over year totaling 7.3 million tons this January, down 8.3% from January 2016. These levels could be representative of service centers efforts to increase cash on hand, but overall is not perceived to be an alarming variable for this month.