Latest Economic News From The U.S. & Canada
- The Metals Service Center Institute (MSCI) announced last week that steel and aluminum shipments from both the United States and Canada declined last month. According to MSCI, U.S. service center steel product shipments fell 11.4 percent between December 2014 and December 2015 while inventories declined 16.2 percent year-over-year. Aluminum product shipments were down 3.5 percent in the U.S. and inventories fell 3.3 percent. In Canada, service center shipments of steel products fell 19.4 percent between December 2014 and December 2015 and inventories dropped 21.7 percent. Aluminum product shipments dropped 16.7 percent year-over-year while inventories were down 16 percent.
- The International Monetary Fund (IMF) last week issued its updated growth estimates for the world economy. The IMF now sees the global economy expanding 3.4 percent in 2016 and 3.6 percent in 2017, rates that are slower than the IMF estimated in October. The bank reduced is expectations for U.S. growth (2.6 percent in 2016 and 2017) and for Canada (1.7 percent in 2016 and 2.1 percent in 2017) and China.
- According to Statistics Canada, led by a rebound in the auto sector, manufacturing sales in the nation increased one percent from October 2015 to November 2015 while
wholesale sales rose 1.8 percent. Both reports were better than analysts’ predictions.
- The Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia announced last week that its manufacturing index rose to -3.5 in January from -10.2 in December as readings for new orders and shipments improved.
- The number of Americans who filed for federal unemployment benefits for the first time rose to 293,000 for the week that ended Jan. 16 from 283,000 the week before. The four-week moving average of first-time claims also rose, but the number of individuals who continued to file for federal jobless benefits fell, declining from 2.208 million for the week that ended Jan. 9 from 2.264 million the week before. The four-week moving average of continuing claims did rise slightly, from about 2.228 million to about 2.225 million.
- In other economic news: Led by weak orders in manufacturing, the Conference Board index of leading economic indicators for the United States fell 0.2 percent in December; the U.S. consumer price index rose 0.1 percent between November 2015 and December 2015 and 0.7 percent between December 2014 and December 2015; the number of new homes under construction in the United States fell 2.5 percent from November 2015 to December 2015, but was up 6.4 percent year-over-year; and existing home sales in the United States increased 14.7 percent between November and December and 7.7 percent year-over-year.