On a three month moving average, (3MMA) basis, total carbon steel shipments averaged 140.3, climbing 4.6% year on year, (y/y). Bar & shapes, plate and structural shipments led the advance, each recording double-digits percentage increases.
Table 1 shows percentage change results for shipments, daily intake and inventory level. In all cases the percentage change references 3MMA y/y. For shipments and inventory, three columns of data are listed offering 12, 24 and 36 month changes.
All products groups posted y/y increased shipments except Pipe & Tube which was down 0.4%. Bar & Shapes recorded the strongest growth, up 18.2%. Structurals, (> or = 3 inch) 3MMA y/y shipments grew by 10.0%. Plate shipments were up 11.3%, while Sheet deliveries moved-up, 5.2%. Bar and Shapes shipments had a strong month helped by a 21.4% rise in alloy bar shipments, a 20.0% increase in special bar quality, (SBQ) and a 9.3% increase for cold finished product. Merchant bars shipments pulled the average down, falling 4.1%.
Overall inventory levels increased by 6.5%, 3MMA y/y. Pipe & Tube inventory was the only product group to post a decline, down 1.0% y/y. Sheet inventory was up 6.7% and Structural inventory was higher by 4.9% y/y. Inventory jumped by 12.3% y/y for Bar & Shapes and was higher by 9.1% y/y for Plate. Months on hand stood at 2.45 overall on a 3MMA look, ranging from a low of 2.41 for Sheet products to a high of 2.72 for Structurals.
Intake was higher across the board, (+5.2%) except for Pipe & Tube which declined by 9.5%, 3MMA y/y. Bar and Shapes intake surged by 17.4%, as Sheet moved-up by 5.3%. Structurals intake rose 2.8%, while Plate intake moved higher by 5.8%.
Figure 1 shows the shipment history for all carbon steel as a percent of the peak market in June 2006, (2006 = 1.00). For the year 2017, the percentages ranges from a low of 57% in January to a peak of 65% in the March through July period. January 2018 started out with an uptick, posting a 60%.
At Gerdau we scrutinize the MSCI release every month searching for clues on the industry’s performance. It’s important to us as a significant supplier of long steel products to our service center customers. It’s equally important to keep our steel consuming consumers informed.