February 3, 2020

U.S. Steel Imports Down In December From Year Before As Global Output Rises


  • According to FastMarketsAMM (subscription required), the United States’ steel imports declined by nearly 18 percent from December 2018 to December 2019, to 1,409,279 tons from 1,717,818 tons in December 2018. Steel products registering notable month-on-month increases during December were plates in coils (up by 41.6 percent), hot-rolled sheet (up by 26.8 percent), cold-rolled sheet (up by 23.7 percent), and cut-to-length plate (up by 11.3 percent). Meanwhile, also according to FastmarketsAMM, an 8.3 percent increase in Chinese steel production led to a 3.4 percent increase in global crude steel output from 2018 to 2019.
  • The U.S. economy expanded at a 2.1 percent annualized rate in the fourth quarter of 2019, the same rate of growth that was recorded in the third quarter. The growth rate for all of 2019 was 2.3 percent. Click here to read the full report.
  • The Canadian economy expanded 0.1 percent in November 2019 from the month before. Goods-producing industries rose 0.1 percent after falling in September and October while services-producing industries also increased 0.1 percent. As the Financial Post explained, the improvement came “despite notable declines in mining, quarrying and oil and gas extraction, as well as the transportation and warehouse sectors.”
  • Canada’s trade deficit declined to C$1.09 billion ($0.84 billion) in November due to drops in both imports and exports. Exports were down by 1.4 percent while imports fell 2.4 percent.
  • Manufacturing activity around the United States appears to have picked up in January. The Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas reported Texas factory activity accelerated in January. The rate of production, new orders, shipments, and capacity utilization all improved. The Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond said activity in its region also improved last month due to higher levels of shipments, new orders, and employment.
  • In other economic news: sales of new homes in the United States fell 0.4 percent between November 2019 and December 2019, but increased 23 percent between December 2018 and December 2019; the Conference Board’s reading of consumer confidence rose 3.4 percentage points in January; the University of Michigan’s consumer sentiment) index rose 0.5 points to 99.8 in January; personal incomes and personal consumption both increased 0.2 percent in December 2019 in the United States.