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September 21, 2020

Metals Shipments Up From April 2020, Still Down Year Over Year

 

  • According to the Metals Service Center Institute’s Metals Activity Report (MAR), the recovery of metal shipments from April lows, in both the U.S. and Canada, continued in August 2020. The August report found U.S. service center steel shipments in August 2020 decreased by 15.2 percent from August 2019. Shipments of aluminum products decreased by 15.9 percent from the same month in 2019. Canadian service center steel shipments in August 2020 decreased by 14.5 percent from August 2019. Shipments of aluminum products decreased by 11.0 percent from the same month in 2019. Click here to learn more about how to get the MAR.
  • The Federal Reserve announced last week that industrial production rose 0.4 percent in August. While it was the fourth consecutive monthly increase for the reading, even with those gains the index is still 7.3 percent below its pre-pandemic February level. Manufacturing output rose one percent in August while mining dropped 2.5 percent and utilities output declined 0.4 percent. Read the full report here.
  • Statistics Canada announced last week that manufacturing sales in Canada rose for a third consecutive month in July, increasing seven percent, but are still 5.4 percent lower than pre-pandemic levels set in February.
  • The Federal Reserve Bank of New York’s manufacturing survey rose thirteen points in September to 17.0. New orders and shipments “grew significantly” while the number of unfilled orders and inventories were down. Employment was “little changed this month, though the average workweek picked up.” Read the full report here. The Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia’s index, meanwhile, fell two points this month to 15.0. New orders, employment, the length of the workweek, and shipments all improved. Read the full report here.
  • Reuters reported the NAHB/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index increased to 83 in September – a record level that was better than last month’s index by five points. Any number greater than 50 means that more builders are optimistic than pessimistic about building conditions.
  • According to the U.S. Department of Labor, during the week that ended September 12 860,000 individuals filed for federal unemployment benefits for the first time, down from 33,000 the week before. The four week-moving average of first-time claims also declined. The number of individuals who continued to receive benefits fell to 12.628 million during the week that ended September 5 from 13.544 million the week before. The four-week moving average of continuing claims rose, however. In other jobs-related news: unemployment rates were lower in August in 41 states, higher in two states, and stable in seven states and the District of Columbia.
  • In other economic news: the number of new homes under construction fell 5.1 percent from July 2020 and August 2020, but rose 2.8 percent from July 2019; the Conference Board’s Index of Leading Indicators,) a key indicator of future economic growth, increased 1.2 percent in August to 106.5, following a two percent increase in July and a 3.1 percent increase in June; and U.S. import prices rose 0.9 percent in August while export prices increased 0.5 percent.