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September 25, 2017

This Week’s Top Economic Data Points: Service Center Shipments Rise In August

  • The Metals Service Center Institute announced last week that, except for a small decline in Canadian aluminum shipments, the modest year-over-year growth in service center shipments over the last four months continued in August. According to MSCI data, U.S. service center steel shipments in August 2017 increased by 2.7 percent from August 2016 while steel product inventories decreased 1.9 percent. U.S. service center shipments of aluminum products in August jumped by 10.8 percent from the same month in 2016 while inventories of aluminum products increased 3.2 percent. In Canada, service center shipments of steel products in August 2017 increased by 6.2 percent from August 2016 while steel product inventories rose 2.9 percent. Canadian service center aluminum shipments in August fell 3.4 percent from the same month in 2016 while inventories declined by 0.3 percent.
  • Manufacturing sales in Canada fell 2.6 percent from June to July due to a significant decline in sales in the auto sector. Canadian Business said, “[A]nnual auto assembly plant summer shutdowns were longer and more concentrated in July than in previous years and … changes to the models being manufactured in Canada also contributed to the decline.” Sales of primary metals increased 1.9 percent. It was the second month in a row that overall manufacturing sales were down.
  • The Philadelphia Federal Reserve announced last week that its manufacturing index for the Philadelphia and New Jersey region rose to +23.8 in September from +18.8 in August due to increases in shipments and new orders.
  • In other economic news: the Conference Board’s index of leading economic indicators, a key gauge of future economic growth, rose 0.4 percent in August; the number of new homes under construction in the United States fell by 0.8 percent from July 2017 to August 2017, but was up 1.4 percent from August 2016 to August 2017; and sales of existing homes in the United States fell 1.7 percent between July and August 2017.