December 17, 2018

MSCI’s Metals Activity Report Shows Mixed Results For November


  • The Metals Service Center Institute announced last week that shipments of steel decreased in the United States and Canada while aluminum shipments increased in the United States but fell in Canada. Specifically, U.S. service center steel shipments in November 2018 fell 2.5 percent from November 2017 while shipments of aluminum products increased 0.4 percent. Canadian center steel shipments in November 2018 dipped 4.4 percent from November 2017 while shipments of aluminum products decreased 4.8 percent.
  • According to the Federal Reserve, industrial production in the United States rose 0.6 percent in November after moving down 0.2 percent in October. Manufacturing production was unchanged, the output of mining increased 1.7 percent, and the index for utilities gained 3.3 percent.
  • According to the National Federation of Independent Business Small Business Optimism Index, CEOs of small companies are still optimistic about the future of the economy, although slightly less so. The survey found 30 percent or more of the owners in construction, manufacturing, retail, and transportation reported quarterly improvements in sales.
  • There were 7.1 million jobs open in the United States in October, a near 50-year high. There were more than half a million jobs open in the manufacturing industry in October. That figure was at its highest level ever. In other jobs-related news: the U.S. Labor Department announced that 206,000 individuals filed for federal unemployment benefits during the week that ended Dec. 8, down from 233,000 the week before. The four-week moving average of first-time claims also declined while the number of individuals who continued to file for benefits rose to 1.661 million for the week that ended Dec. 1 from 1.636 million the week before. The four-week moving average of continuing claims fell, however.
  • In other economic news: real average hourly earnings in the United States rose 0.3 percent from October 2018 to November 2018 and 0.8 percent from October 2017 to October 2017; the U.S. Producer Price Index rose 0.1 percent for the month and 2.5 percent between November 2017 and November 2018; the U.S. Consumer Price Index did not change from October to November, but was up 2.2 percent year-over-year; and U.S. import prices fell 1.6 percent in November while export prices dipped 0.9 percent.