On a three month moving average, (3MMA) basis, February total carbon steel shipments averaged 140,700 tons per day, climbing 4.1% year on year, (y/y). Bar and Shapes and Plate shipments led the advance, each recording double-digits percentage increases.

msci-table1Table 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 fell 0.4%. Bar and Shapes y/y shipments advanced 18.2%. Plate recorded growth of 11.3% y/y. Structurals, (> or = 3 inch) 3MMA y/y shipments grew by 8.6% y/y. Sheet deliveries moved-up 2.9% y/y.

Overall inventory levels increased by 5.7%, 3MMA y/y. Pipe & Tube inventory was the only product group to post a decline, down 1.0% y/y. Sheet inventory was up 6.8% and Structural inventory was higher by 1.5% y/y. Inventory jumped by 12.3% y/y for Bar & Shapes and was higher by 8.6% y/y for Plate. Months on hand stood at 2.33 overall on a 3MMA look, down 0.12 points month on month, ranging from a low of 2.25 for Sheet products to a high of 2.68 for Structurals.

Intake was higher across the board, (+2.2%) except for Pipe & Tube which declined by 9.5%, 3MMA y/y. Bar and Shapes intake surged by 17.4% y/y, as Sheet moved-up by 2.2% y/y. Structurals intake rose 0.7% y/y, while Plate intake moved higher by 8.2% y/y.

Figure 1msci-fig1 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%, February continued the upward slope scoring a 62%.

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.