January 4, 2021

Canadian Economy Expanded In October


  • As CBC News reported, the Canadian economy grew 0.4 percent in October, the sixth straight month of expansion and a reading that was slightly better than analysts had predicted. Services expanded 0.5 percent while goods-producing sectors grew by 0.1 percent. October’s growth brings the total value of all economic activity in Canada to just over $1.9 trillion, down from just over $2 trillion in February 2020 before COVID-19 forced nationwide lockdowns.
  • According to Fastmarkets AMM (subscription required), imports of finished steel to the United States fell to 1.24 million tons in November 2020 from 1.37 million tons in October, a 9.5 percent decline. Imports of bloom, billet, and slab were down 27.4 percent while imports of oil country goods declined 33.4 percent. Subscribers can click here for the full report.
  • The Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas reported that its monthly manufacturing survey showed Texas factory activity picked up in December. The bank’s production index rebounded from +7.2 to +25.5, indicating an acceleration in output growth, while other measures also pointed to stronger growth The new orders index rose 11 points to +17.8, for example, and the growth rate of orders index increased from +9.7 to +16.5. The company outlook index also pushed further into positive territory, rising from +11.0 to +16.8 while expectations regarding future activity remained positive in December. Click here to read the full report.
  • The Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond announced that manufacturing activity also expanded in the Central Atlantic region last month. The composite bank’s index rose from +15 in November to +19 in December, buoyed by increases in the indexes for new orders and employment, while the third component, the shipments index, fell but was still positive. Indexes for local business conditions and capital spending were also positive, and manufacturers were optimistic that conditions would improve in the coming months.
  • According to the National Association of Manufacturers’ fourth-quarter Manufacturers’ Outlook Survey, manufacturers were feeling more optimistic at the end of 2020. Indeed, 74.2 percent of respondents said they were either somewhat or very positive about the outlook for their company. That number is a noticeable improvement following readings of 33.9 percent and 66 percent in the second and third quarters of 2020. Just over 29 percent of respondents said their revenues will recover to pre-pandemic levels before or during the fourth quarter, while 38.3 percent said they expect their revenues to return to normal sometime in 2021. Manufacturers’ biggest challenges? Challenges in the supply chain and hiring.
  • The U.S. Department of Labor reported that 787,000 individuals filed for federal unemployment benefits during the week that ended December 26, a decrease of 19,000 from the previous week’s level. The four-week moving average of first-time claims rose, however. The number of individuals who continued to receive jobless benefits fell to 5.219 million during the week that ended December 19, a decrease of 103,000 from the previous week’s level. The four-week moving average of continuing claims also declined.
  • In other economic news: new home sales in the United States fell 11 percent between October 2020 and November 2020, but increased 20.8 percent between November 2019 and November 2020; U.S. personal incomes fell 1.1 percent in November while personal consumption expenditures decreased 0.4 percent; and the University of Michigan’s consumer sentiment index rose to 80.7 in December from 76.9 in November.