September 23, 2019

Steel, Aluminum Shipments Down In August In Canada, United States


  • According to MSCI’s Metals Activity Report, steel shipments in August decreased for the tenth consecutive month in the United States and for the thirteenth consecutive month in Canada. Aluminum shipments decreased slightly in both countries. Specifically, U.S. service center steel shipments in August 2019 fell 12.7 percent from August 2018 while shipments of aluminum products decreased by 4.1 percent from the year before. Canadian center steel shipments in August 2019 fell 5.5 percent year-over-year while shipments of aluminum products declined 0.3 percent.
  • The Federal Reserve announced last week that manufacturing production in the United States rose 0.5 percent in August after declining 0.4 percent in July. Durable and nondurable goods production each rose 0.5 percent, and 13 of the 19 major manufacturing sectors, including the primary metals sector, experienced better output for the month. While August’s reading was positive, over the last 12 months manufacturing output has declined 0.4 percent. Total industrial production, which also includes output at mines and utilities, increased 0.6 percent. Total capacity utilization, measuring the amount of a plant that is in use, rose to 77.9 percent from 77.5 percent.
  • Manufacturing shipments from Canada fell 1.3 percent in July to C$57.2 billion, following a 1.4 percent decline in June. The unadjusted capacity utilization rate in Canada’s manufacturing sector dropped four percentage points to 77.3 percent. Real shipments fell 1.6 percent in July, marking a fourth decline in the first seven months of the year. Part of the reason for July’s soft report: sales fell in the primary metals industry following a large increase in June.
  • The Federal Reserve Bank of New York announced that its manufacturing index declined more than expected in the September survey, falling to +2 from +4.8 in August. Readings for new orders and shipments deteriorated and the bank’s measure of capital spending expected over the next six months declined by the largest amount in three years, to +4.6 from +23.2. Click here to read the full report.
  • The Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia, meanwhile, said manufacturing activity in its region continued to expand this month. The survey’s broad indicators remained positive, although their movements were mixed: The indexes for general activity and new orders fell, while the indexes for shipments and employment increased. The survey’s price indexes increased notably, but the survey’s future general activity index continues to suggest growth over the next six months. Click here to read the full report.
  • The U.S. Department of Commerce announced last week that housing starts came in at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.36 million, the highest level since June 2007. Construction of single-family homes rose 4.4 percent while building of apartments and condominiums surged 30.9 percent, the largest monthly gain since December 2016.
  • In other economic news: Retail sales in Canada rose 0.4 percent in July, the first increase in three months; the Conference Board’s index of leading economic indicators for the United States was unchanged in August, indicating a “slow, but still expanding economy”; sales of existing homes in the United States increased 1.3 percent from July 2019 to August 2019 and 2.6 percent from August 2018 to August 2019.