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December 19, 2016

MSCI: Metals Shipments Rise While Inventories Continue To Decline In U.S., Canada

  • The Metals Service Center Institute (MSCI) announced last week that metals shipments increased modestly in November while inventories continued to decline by substantial percentages. U.S. service center steel shipments increased by 3.3 percent between November 2015 and November 2016 while steel product inventories fell 17.7 percent. U.S. service center shipments of aluminum increased 5.3 year-over-year while inventories of aluminum products dropped three percent. Canadian service center shipments of steel products increased by 11.3 percent between November 2015 and November 2016 while steel product inventories fell 5.7 percent. Canadian service center aluminum shipments rose 8.9 percent year-over-year while inventories of aluminum products dropped 3.7 percent.
  • Overall industrial production in the United States fell 0.4 percent in November. Manufacturing output declined 0.1 percent while utilities’ output dropped 4.4 percent and mining production posted a gain of 1.1 percent.
  • In a reading that was worse than predicted, Statistics Canada announced last week that manufacturing sales in the country fell 0.8 percent from September to October. Analysts had predicted a 0.4 percent increase for the month. Sales fell in 15 of 21 industries, including the primary metals sector, which saw a 2.4 percent decline.
  • Regional manufacturing readings in the United States have been positive so far in December. According to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, manufacturing activity in its region “grew modestly” in December. The bank’s manufacturing survey rose to +9.0 this month from +1.0 in November due to a steady increase in the number of new orders and in prices paid. The Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia, meanwhile, said that its manufacturing index rose to +21.5 in December from +7.6 in November due to continued positive readings for new orders and shipments.
  • The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) announced last week that 254,000 individuals filed for federal unemployment benefits for the week that ended December 10, down from 258,000 the week before. The four-week moving average of first-time claims rose, however, as did the number of individuals who continued to receive these benefits. That figure rose to 2.018 million for the week that ended December 3 from 2.007 million the week before. In other employment news: nine U.S. states added jobs in November while two lost them (employment was stable in the rest).
  • That National Federation of Independent Business’s Small Business Optimism Index climbed 3.5 percentage points to 98.4 percent in November due to the fact that more small employers said that they plan to hire and increase inventories in the coming months.
  • In other economic news: the U.S. Producer Price Index rose increased 0.4 percent from October 2016 to November 2016 and was up 1.3 percent from November 2015 to November 2016; the U.S. Consumer Price Index increased 0.2 percent from October to November and was up 1.7 percent year-over-year; and real average hourly earnings in the United States fell 0.4 percent from October to November but were up 0.8 percent from November 2015 to November 2016; and the number of new homes under construction in the United States fell 18.7 percent from October to November and was down 6.9 percent from November 2015 to November 2016.