MSCI Releases Details Of January Metals Activity Report
- According to Metals Service Center Institute data, U.S. service center steel shipments in January 2019 decreased by 3.1 percent from January 2018. Shipments of aluminum products fell 0.9 percent from the same month in 2018. Canadian service center steel shipments dropped 8.1 percent year-over-year while shipments of aluminum products rose 2.7 percent.
- The Conference Board’s Leading Economic Index, a key indicator of future economic growth in the United States, fell to 111.3 in January from 111.4 in December. Conference Board Director of Economic Research Ataman Ozyildirim said, “[T]he strengths in the financial components were offset by the weaknesses in the labor market components. The US LEI has now been flat essentially since October 2018. The Conference Board forecasts that US GDP growth will likely decelerate to about 2 percent by the end of 2019.”
- The Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia announced last week that its manufacturing index for the Pennsylvania and New Jersey regions fell from +17.0 in January to -4.1 in February, the index’s first negative reading since May 2016. The readings for new orders and shipments both posted significant drops.
- According to the U.S. Department of Labor, 216,000 individuals filed for federal unemployment benefits for the week that ended Feb. 16, a decline of 23,000 from the previous week’s level of 239,000. The four-week moving average of first-time claims rose, however, but the number of individuals who continued to receive benefits fell. That number declined to 1.725 million for the week that ended Feb. 9 from 1.78 million the week before. The four-week moving average of continuing claims rose slightly.
- In other economic news: wholesale sales in Canada rose 0.3 percent from November 2018 to December 2018 due to stronger sales of vehicles and vehicle parts; Canadian retail sales fell 0.1 percent to $50.4 billion in December due to a 3.6 percent decline in gasoline station sales; the number of new homes under construction in the United States rose 3.2 percent between October 2018 and November 2018, but fell 3.6 percent between November 2017 and November 2018; and the number of homes sold in the United States fell 1.2 percent between December 2018 and January 2019 and 8.5 percent between January 2018 and January 2019.