October 22, 2018

MSCI Announced Steel, Aluminum Reports For September


  • The Metals Service Center Institute announced last week that growth in shipments slowed for steel in the United States, but grew at an increased rate for aluminum. Shipments declined for both metals in Canada. Specifically, U.S. service center steel shipments in September 2018 increased by just 0.8 percent from September 2017 while shipments of aluminum products rose 5.2 percent. Canadian steel center shipments in September 2018 decreased by 4.8 percent from September 2017 while shipments of aluminum products fell 3.9 percent from the same month in 2017.
  • Industrial production in the United States increased 0.3 percent in September 2018 and 3.3 percent in the third quarter. Manufacturing output rose 0.2 in September while output of utilities was unchanged and mining production increased 0.5 percent.
  • The Canadian Manufacturing Association explored the decline in manufacturing activity in the country in August. The CMA said the drop was driven lower by a decline in motor vehicles production, but also noted that “even with the decline … monthly sales remain at their second highest level on record.” Overall manufacturing production fell by 0.4 percent in Canada in August, bringing the value of total output down to $58.6 billion from an all-time high of $58.8 billion in July.
  • Manufacturing sales in the United States rose 0.5 percent from July 2018 to August 2018 and 7.8 percent from August 2017 to August 2018. Inventories also rose 0.5 percent for the month and increased 4.2 percent year-over-year.
  • The manufacturing sectors in various regions of the United States remained strong in October. The Federal Reserve Bank of New York’s manufacturing survey improved two points to +21.1 in October. Roughly 36 percent of respondents reported that conditions had improved over the month, while only 15 percent reported that conditions had worsened. The new orders index and the shipments index both showed strong growth. The Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia, meanwhile, announced its manufacturing survey fell slightly, to +22.2 in October from +22.9 in September, due to a small drop in the rate of new orders.
  • According to the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL), there were more than seven million jobs open in the United States in August, including more than half a million in the manufacturing sector. The number of jobs open is now at a record high. The DOL also reported last week that the number of individuals who filed for federal unemployment benefits for the first time fell to 210,000 for the week that ended Oct. 13 from 215,000 the week before. The four-week moving average increased, however, but the number of individuals who continued to receive jobless benefits declined. That reading dropped to 1.64 million for the week that ended Oct. 6 and is now at its lowest level since August 1973. The four-week moving average of continuing claims also fell.
  • In other economic news: existing home sales fell 3.4 percent between August 2018 and September 2018 and 4.1 percent between September 2017 and September 2018; the number of new homes under construction in the United States fell 5.3 percent from August to September, but is still 3.7 percent higher than it was in September 2017; and the Conference Board Leading Economic Index rose 0.5 percent in September, indicating the U.S. business cycle “remains on a strong path.”