U.S., Canadian Steel And Aluminum Shipments Decline
- The Metals Service Center Institute announced last week that U.S. service center steel shipments fell 0.2 percent from December 2017 to December 2018. Shipments of aluminum products declined 0.8 percent. Canadian center steel shipments fell 12.5 percent year-over-year while shipments of aluminum products dropped 6.1 percent.
- According to the Federal Reserve, industrial production in the United States increased 0.3 percent from November to December 2018 and at an annualized rate of 3.8 percent in the fourth quarter. Manufacturing output in December rose 1.1 percent, its largest monthly gain since February 2018, while mining output increased 1.5 percent and utilities output fell 6.3 percent.
- Manufacturing readings for various regions of the United States have been mixed so far this month. The Federal Reserve of New York announced that its manufacturing index fell to +3.9 in January from +8.0 in December. The reading has fallen 18 points since November and now is at its lowest level since the middle of 2017. New orders were down significantly this month. Click here to read the full report. The Federal Reserve of Philadelphia rose to +17.0 in January from +9.1 in December due to improvements in the new orders index. While that reading rose, reports for employment and shipments fell.
- The number of individuals who filed for federal unemployment benefits fell to 213,000 for the week that ended Jan. 12 from 216,000 the week before. The four-week moving average of first-time claims also fell. The number of individuals who continued to receive benefits rose, however, to 1.737 million during the week that ended Jan. 5 from 1.719 million the week before. The four-week moving average of continuing claims also increased.
- In other economic news: the U.S. Producer Price Index for final demand fell 0.2 percent from November 2018 to December 2018, but increased 2.5 percent from December 2017 to December 2018 and prices for U.S. imports fell one percent in December while export prices fell 0.6 percent.