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Titanium shipments decline in 2013

Mar 27, 2014 | 05:42 PM | Frank Haflich

Tags  Titanium, shipments, U.S. Geological Survey, USGS, Frank Haflich

LOS ANGELES — Titanium shipments declined in 2013, with data that previously pointed to a sharp increase revised by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS).  

Mill product shipments totaled 34,600 tonnes (76.28 million pounds), down 12.6 percent from 39,600 tonnes (87.3 million pounds) in 2012. Shipments of forgings and extrusion billet rose 43.7 percent to 24,000 tonnes, offset by a 53.3-percent decrease in shipments of other products. 

It was the second year in a row that shipments fell from the record 100.3 million pounds in 2011, and the lowest figure since 61.1 million pounds in the recession year of 2009. 

Fourth-quarter shipments totaled 8,060 tonnes (17.77 million pounds), down 9.2 percent from 8,880 tonnes (19.58 million pounds) in the same period a year earlier and down 6.1 percent from the third quarter of 2013. About 74 percent of fourth-quarter shipments went to the commercial and military aerospace markets, according to the USGS report.

The report corrects data that originally showed a 64-percent jump in third-quarter shipments compared with the second quarter, an increase that few industry observers found plausible in what was perceived as an environment of flat demand (, Feb. 28). 

The most recent USGS report revised third-quarter shipments downward 42.8 percent from the original data to 8,580 tonnes (18.92 million pounds), a decline of 1.8 percent from a revised 8,740 tonnes (19.27 million pounds) in the second quarter. 

“That huge jump in the third quarter wasn’t at all explainable from what we could see in the market,” an industry executive said, noting that the most recent USGS report is a more accurate reflection of shipment activity.

Shipments totaled 9,230 tonnes (20.35 million pounds) in the first quarter but declined each succeeding quarter during the year. 

Producer shipments of ingot and slab totaled 23,000 tonnes (50.71 million pounds) in 2013, up 12.2 percent from 20,500 tonnes (45.19 million pounds) a year earlier, while ingot consumption fell 15.5 percent to 48,400 tonnes (106.7 million pounds) from 57,300 tonnes (126.32 million pounds) in the same comparison. Ingot production, at times an indication of future shipments, declined 11 percent in the fourth quarter to 14,600 tonnes (32.19 million pounds) from 16,400 tonnes (36.16 million pounds) in the third quarter.

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