November 2, 2020

U.S. Imports Less Steel In September


  • According to Metal Miner, the United States imported 1.1 million metric tons of steel products in September, down from 1.2 million metric tons in August. For the first eight months of 2020 (through August), the United States imported 14.9 million metric tons of steel products, down 20.7 percent from the same period last year.
  • As FastmarketsAMM (subscription required) reported, U.S. Census Bureau data showed finished steel imports dropped 2.7 percent from August 2020 to September 2020 due to lower reinforcing bar and oil country goods volumes. Rebar imports were down more than 56 percent while imports of oil country goods declined 44.5 percent. Imports from Turkey dropped nearly 86 percent while Mexican imports were down almost 21 percent. The United States took in more product from Brazil (imports were up almost five-fold), Taiwan (72.9 percent increase), and Japan (68.9 percent increase).
  • The U.S. economy expanded by an annualized rate 33.1 percent in the third quarter of 2020, nearly $1.3 trillion. So far, the nation has recovered more than 75 percent of it gross domestic product (GDP) lost in the second quarter and almost 66 percent of its COVID recession loss. Consumer and investment spending were major drivers of the growth in the third quarter. Consumer spending was driven by healthcare spending, car sales, food services, accommodations, and clothing. Investment spending was driven by businesses purchasing transportation equipment and home-buying. Durable goods purchases grew at a rate of 82.2 percent, nondurables 28.8 percent, and services 38.4 percent.
  • In other GDP-related news: the Chicago Federal Reserve’s National Activity Index, an indicator of future growth was +0.27 in September, down from +1.11 in August.
  • The Canadian economy expanded 1.2 percent in August, down from a 3.1 percent expansion in July. While it was the fourth straight month of growth in Canada, as CBC News reported, economic activity in the country is still five percent below its pre-pandemic level.
  • The Dallas Federal Reserve reported that Texas factory activity expanded in October for the fifth month in a row following a record contraction due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The production index, a key measure of state manufacturing conditions, rose three points to +25.5 while other measures also pointed to stronger growth this month. Click here to read the full report. The Richmond Federal Reserve said manufacturing activity in the Central Atlantic region also strengthened in October. The Richmond Fed’s composite index rose from +21 in September to +29 in October, its highest reading on record, due to increases in the shipments and new orders indexes and steady employment. Click here to read the full report.
  • The number of Americans filing initial claims for unemployment insurance fell last week to the lowest level since the pandemic began, suggesting layoffs are easing despite a rise in coronavirus infections. Initial jobless claims, a proxy for layoffs, fell by 40,000 to 751,000 in the week through Oct. 24, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. Click here for the full report.
  • In other economic news: personal incomes in the United States rose 0.9 percent from August 2020 to September 2020 while household outlays advanced 1.4 percent; new home sales in the United States fell 3.5 percent from August 2020 to September 2020, but rose 32.1 percent from September 2019 to September 2020; the Conference Board Consumer Confidence Index declined slightly to 100.9 in October from 101.3 in September; and the University of Michigan consumer sentiment index rose to 81.8 in October from 80.4 in September.