October 19, 2020

Metals Shipments Rates of Decline Improve in September, Aluminum Up in Canada


  • According to the Metals Service Center Institute’s Metals Activity Report (MAR), U.S. and Canadian steel shipments and U.S. aluminum shipments declined again in September, but the drop was less than half of the decline seen in August. Aluminum shipments in Canada were up slightly. Specifically, U.S. service center steel shipments in September 2020 decreased four percent from September 2019 while shipments of aluminum products were down six percent year-over-year. Canadian service center steel shipments in September 2020 were down 5.8 percent from September 2019 while aluminum shipments rose 2.7 percent year over year. Click here to learn how to subscribe or participate in the MAR.
  • The Federal Reserve announced last week that Industrial production in the United States fell 0.6 percent in September, its first decline after four consecutive months of gains. The reading also was still 7.1 percent below its pre-COVID pandemic February level. Manufacturing output decreased 0.3 percent in September and was 6.4 percent below February’s level. The output of utilities dropped 5.6 percent while mining production increased 1.7 percent in September. The full report is available here.
  • According to Statistics Canada, manufacturing sales in the country declined two percent to $52.4 billion in August due to a decline in the transportation sector. Excluding transportation equipment, manufacturing sales rose 1.1 percent.
  • As Reuters reported, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) announced U.S. producer prices increased in September, fueled by a rise in hotel and motel prices and a modest jump in the price of iron and steel scrap. Click here to read the BLS’s full report. The BLS also announced last week that the Consumer Price Index rose 0.2 percent from August 2020 to September 2020 and 1.4 percent from September 2019 to September 2020.
  • The Federal Reserve Bank of New York announced last week that manufacturing in its region strengthened in October, though at a slower rate than in September, due to growth in new orders and shipments. While the bank’s general business reading declined from +17 in September to +10.5 in October, its index of new orders rose to +12.3 this month from +7.1 last month and the shipments measure increased to +17.8 from +14.1 in September. Click here to read the full report.
  • The Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia, meanwhile, reported its manufacturing index rose to +32.3 in October due to the strongest increase in new orders since 1973. The subindex for new orders now stands at +42.6, up from +25.5 in September. The bank’s reading for general business activity was at its highest level since before the coronavirus pandemic hit the United States.
  • According to the U.S. Department of Labor, during the week that ended October 10, 898,000 individuals filed for federal unemployment benefits for the first time, an increase of 53,000 from the previous week’s level. The four-week moving average of first-time claims also increased. The number of individuals who continued to receive benefits fell to 10.018 million during the week that ended October 3, down from 11.183 million the week before. The four-week moving average of continuing claims also fell.
  • In other economic news: prices for U.S. imports increased 0.3 percent in September while export prices increased 0.6 percent; median weekly earnings for the United States’ 109.7 million full-time wage and salary workers were $994 in the third quarter of 2020, a figure that was 8.2 percent higher than a year earlier; and real average hourly earnings for all employees decreased 0.1 percent from August to September.