August 19, 2019

Steel Shipments Down In U.S. Canada, But Aluminum Shipments Rise


  • According to the MSCI’s Metals Activity Report, steel shipments decreased for the ninth consecutive month in the United States and for the 12th consecutive month in Canada. Aluminum shipments increased slightly in both the United States and Canada. U.S. service center steel shipments in July 2019 fell 7.4 percent from July 2018. Shipments of aluminum products increased by three percent from the same month in 2018. Canadian center steel shipments in July 2019 declined four percent from July 2018 while shipments of aluminum products rose six percent. Click here to read more about how to get MSCI’s Metals Activity Report.
  • As The Wall Street Journal reports, industrial production in the United States fell 0.2 percent from June 2019 to July 2019. Manufacturing output, which comprises about 75 percent of all industrial production, fell 0.4 percent for the month and has declined 1.5 percent over the last 18 months. Capacity utilization fell 0.3 percentage points to 77.5 percent in July.
  • Manufacturing readings for various regions of the United States have been positive so far this month. The Federal Reserve Bank of New York announced last week that the manufacturing sector in its region has strengthened “modestly” in August. New orders increased after declining the prior two months, and shipments continued to expand. Unfilled orders fell, delivery times were steady, and inventories increased. The employment and average workweek indexes were both slightly below zero, however, pointing to sluggishness in labor market conditions. Click here to read the full report. The manufacturing sector in the Philadelphia region also continued to expand, but movements in the indexes for current shipments and new orders were mixed: The current new orders index increased seven points, while the shipments index decreased six points. Click here to read the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia’s full report.
  • According to the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB), optimism among small business owners improved in July as expectations for business conditions, real sales and expansion made solid gains. The NFIB Small Business Optimism Index rose 1.4 points to 104.7. Small business owners’ plans to create new jobs and make capital outlays advanced last month and earnings trends improved, supported by a solid improvement in sales trends. More business owners also plan to order new inventory.
  • According to the U.S. Department of Labor, 220,000 individuals filed for federal unemployment benefits for the first time during the week that ended August 10. That figure was up from 211,000 the week before. The four-week moving average of first-time claims also rose slightly, as did the number of individuals who continued to receive benefits. That number increased to 1.726 million for the week that ended August 3 from 1.687 million the week before. The four-week moving average of continuing claims also rose. In other jobs-related news: five U.S. states added jobs in July 2019 while employment remained stable in the remaining 45 states.
  • In other economic news: the number of new homes under construction in the United States fell four percent from June 2019 to July 2019, but increased 0.6 percent between July 2018 and July 2019; the U.S. Consumer Price Index rose 0.3 percent between June 2019 and July 2019 and increased 1.8 percent year-over-year; and U.S. nonfarm business sector labor productivity rose 2.3 percent in the second quarter of 2019 as output increased 1.9 percent and hours worked fell 0.4 percent.