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U.S. service centers’ shipments in March were up 4.8 percent over February …

… but down 9.2 percent year on year.

According to American Metal Market, “Destocking surprisingly persisted … which leads us to believe the demand environment is more tepid than previously expected and/or steel buyers have little confidence of a sustainable pricing recovery,” Jefferies analysts said, noting that the year-on-year shipment decline in March marked the 14th such fall consecutively.

U.S. service centers’ inventories are now at their lowest levels since November 2010.