Aluminum centers' shipments at 17-month high

Nov 18, 2013 | 02:36 PM | Michael Cowden

Tags  Metals Service Center Institute, MSCI, aluminum shipments, aluminum inventories, aluminum sheet, aluminum plate, aluminum bar, aluminum extrusions Michael Cowden

CHICAGO — U.S. service centers last month recorded their strongest aluminum shipments since May last year, boosting expectations for 2014 even as some market sources questioned the sustainability of the demand uptick.

Improved activity was reported in markets as diverse as aerospace, automotive and commercial construction and in products ranging from extrusions to sheet and plate and bar and tube.

"If you would have asked me four months ago, I would have said I was disappointed with 2013. ... But it’s turning out to be the opposite of 2012," one service center source said. Demand in 2012 was strong at the beginning of the year but slowed in the second half, while 2013 has seen the trend reverse, he said, echoing the sentiment of others.

U.S. service centers’ aluminum shipments totaled 135,800 tons in October, up 11.6 percent from 121,700 tons the previous month and 8.7 percent ahead of 125,000 tons a year earlier, according to the latest Metals Service Center Institute data. Despite those gains, year-to-date shipments of nearly 1.26 million tons were down 2.2 percent from 1.29 million tons in the first 10 months of last year.....

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