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July 20, 2015

Latest Economic News From The U.S. & Canada

  • On Friday, MSCI announced U.S. shipments of steel products fell 3.2 percent between June 2014 and June 2015 while inventories rose 7.1 percent. U.S. shipments of aluminum products rose 3.8 percent year-over-year while inventories increased 3.1 percent. In Canada, steel product shipments were up 0.3 percent for the year while inventories gained 19.7 percent. Aluminum shipments rose 6.6 percent and inventories were up 8.6 percent.
  • The Bank of Canada revised its outlook for the nation’s economic growth rate last week. The bank now expects the economy to expand 1.1 percent this year instead of the 1.9 percent growth rate previously estimated.
  • Meanwhile, in a reading that was slightly below expectations, Statistics Canada announced Canadian factory sales increased 0.1 percent from April to May. Sales were down 3.6 percent from the previous May, however, and new orders increased 1.7 percent for the month.
  • U.S. industrial production rose 0.3 percent in June, but was down at a 1.4 percent annualized rate in the second quarter. Manufacturing output was level for the month while mining output gained one percent and utilities production advanced 1.5 percent between May and June.
  • The New York Federal Reserve said its manufacturing index increased to +3.9 percent in July from -2.1 in June even though the shipments index fell and the new orders index remained largely the same. The bank noted its “index has moved in a see-saw pattern around zero for the past four months, indicating that business activity remains subdued.”
  • Meanwhile the Philadelphia Federal Reserve announced its manufacturing reading fell to +5.7 in July from +15.2 in June as the new orders and shipments indices fell from their June levels and the employment index remained relatively unchanged.
  • The number of Americans who filed for federal unemployment benefits fell to 281,000 for the week that ended July 11 from 296,000 the week before. The four-week moving average of first-time claims increased slightly, however, while the number of Americans who continued to receive benefits fell significantly. That figure declined to 2.215 million for the week that ended July 4 from 2.327 million.
  • The National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) Small Business Optimism Index fell to 94.1 in June from 98.3 in May as fewer employers said they planned to hire new employees or to make capital investments over the next few months. NFIB Chief Economist Bill Dunkelberg said the report is a sign that economic growth in the second half of the year will be weak.
  • In other economic news: the U.S. Producer Price Index rose 0.4 percent between May 2015 and June 2015, but was down 0.7 percent between June 2014 and June 2015; the U.S. Consumer Price Index rose 0.3 percent in June and was up 0.1 percent year-over-year; U.S. import prices were down 0.1 percent between May and June while export prices were down 0.2 percent; and the number of U.S. homes under construction increased 9.8 percent from May to June and 26.6 percent from June 2014 to June 2015.