Service centers see strong demand in aluminum, steel

Apr 30, 2012 | 07:00 PM | AMM staff

Tags  aluminum shipments, US service centers, steel shipments

U.S. and Canadian service centers are experiencing strong demand, just as they had predicted. Healthy demand from customers pushed aluminum product shipments up in March, the most recent figures available, but optimism also was displayed heading into April.

"Our customers and our competitors are both saying they’re extremely busy. More quotes are turning into actual orders than six months ago," one service center source told AMM.

Overall business activity has improved from last year’s levels, with monthly reports showing strong increases in service center shipments, some of the largest North American metal processing and distribution companies said.

But as the year progresses, improvements are expected to be slight because a number of factors still worry players in the industry: a depressed construction market, the European sovereign debt crisis and the volatility that typically accompanies a presidential election year.

These concerns were buried beneath the surface of first-quarter shipments. U.S. and Canadian service centers shipped a combined 149,800 tons of aluminum in March, up 4.4 percent from 143,500 tons in February, pushing the first-quarter total to 413,200 tonnes, up marginally from 412,700 tons in the same period last year, according to Metals Service Center Institute (MSCI) data. ....

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