NEW YORK U.S. stainless steel shipments rose 6.4 percent year on year in September, according to Metals Service Center Institute (MSCI) data.
Stainless steel shipments totaled 144,500 tons in September, up from 135,800 tons in the same month last year. Seasonally adjusted, monthly shipments rose 2.5 percent year on year, the largest monthly increase so far in 2013.
Year-to-date stainless steel shipments were down 0.3 percent at 1.345 million tons.
Some service centers questioned whether the market has truly improved, given that the data is up from a low starting base in 2012.
"I wouldnt put much credence in the 6-percent increase, because thats up from really bad figures last year," one service center source said. "Some companies are doing really well, but look at all the layouts. Theres overcapacity in stainless."
"Up 6.4 percent from a bad year is not much to brag about," a second service center source said. "This is getting into the time of year when it typically slows back down. Maybe it is part of a good start for next year, I dont know."
Canadian shipments for September were up 0.2 percent from the same month last year, the first year-on-year increase since April. Seasonally adjusted, however, monthly shipments were down 2.9 percent from September 2012. Year-to-date shipments of 119,100 tons were down 8 percent from the same period last year.