August 24, 2020

U.S., Canadian Metals Shipments Continue To Fall


  • According the Metals Service Center Institute Metals Activity Report, while metal shipments continue to show a modest recovery from the lows in April, shipments in both the United States and Canada declined again in July on a year-over-year basis. Notably, Canadian aluminum shipments declined 13.6 percent in July as opposed to only 2.8 percent in June. Canadian service center steel shipments in July 2020 decreased by 18 percent from the previous year. U.S. service center steel shipments fell 12.6 percent from July 2020 to July 2019 while shipments aluminum products decreased by 10.4 percent year-over-year.
  • Statistics Canada announced that wholesale trade in the country rose to $62.1 billion in June 2020 and is now close to the level it was before COVID-19 shut down operations in the country. The reading was boosted by a 20.7 percent increase in manufacturing sales from May to June.
  • The Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia announced last week that its manufacturing index fell seven points to 17.2 in August, but had its third consecutive positive reading after reaching long-term lows in April and May. The index for new orders decreased from 23 to 19. The current shipments index fell six points to 9.4 in August. Click here to read the full report.
  • According to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, its manufacturing reading fell 14 points to 3.7, signaling a slower pace of growth than in July. New orders were little changed, and shipments increased modestly. Click here to read the full report.
  • The personal savings rate in the United States increased more than 350 percent from a $1.4 trillion annual rate in February to $6.3 trillion in April and has remained significantly elevated in May and June. According to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce these savings eventually could help the nation’s economy rebound.
  • According to the U.S. Department of Labor, during the week that ended August 15 1.1 million Americans filed for federal unemployment benefits for the first time, up 135,000 from the week before. More than 14.8 million Americans continued to receive jobless benefits during the week that ended August 8.
  • In other economic news: inflation in Canada held steady at 0.1 percent in July as airline ticket prices fell for the first time in five years; Canadian retail sales increased by a record 23.7 percent from May 2020 to June 2020 and are now above their pre-pandemic levels due to higher motor vehicle and parts sales; the number of privately-owned housing starts in the United States were up 22.6 percent between June 2020 and July 2020 and 23.4 percent between July 2019 and July 2020; and total existing home sales in the United States jumped 24.7 percent from June and 8.7 percent year-over-year.