December 7, 2020

U.S. Steel Imports Rose In October


  • According to MetalMiner, U.S. steel imports totaled 1.4 million metric tons in October, up from 1.1 million metric tons in September. Total imports for 2020 are down from 2019, however. Through September 2020, the U.S. imported 16.1 million metric tons compared to 20.5 million metric tons imported during the same period in 2019. The United State saw significant jumps in imports in three categories in October: rebar; cold-rolled sheets; and blooms, billets and slabs. Click here to read MetalMiner’s full report.
  • The U.S. trade deficit increased slightly in October, rising to $63.1 billion from $62.1 billion in September. The increase in the overall gap reflected an expansion in the goods deficit of $0.6 billion to $81.4 billion and a decrease in the services surplus of $0.4 billion to $18.3 billion. October exports were $182 billion, $4 billion more than September exports, but imports rose by more, increasing $5 billion to $245.1 billion. The deficit in the trade of goods with China rose nine percent to $26.5 billion and the gap with Mexico rose 10 percent to $11.8 billion. The goods and services deficit increased $46.6 billion, or 9.5 percent, from October 2019 to October 2020 as exports declined 16.4 percent and imports dropped only 11.5 percent. Click here to read the full report.
  • According to Statistics Canada, the nation’s merchandise trade deficit was unchanged from September, remaining at $3.8 billion in October due to increases in both imports (1.9 percent to $50.2 billion) and exports (2.2 percent to $46.5 billion). The October reading was slightly higher than the $3 billion gap analysts predicted. Shipments of energy products led the rise in exports. Exports to the United States rose by two percent while imports fell by 2.3 percent. As a result, the trade surplus with the United States in October grew to C$3.05 billion from C$1.69 billion in September.
  • According to the Institute for Supply Management’s purchasing managers’ index, U.S. manufacturing expanded at a slower pace in November, easing back from the strongest reading in two years. The index for new orders fell 2.8 points to 65.1 percent, the production index fell 2.2 points to 60.8 percent, the inventory index fell 0.7 points to 51.2 percent, and imports fell three points to 55.1 percent. The overall reading fell 1.8 points to 57.5, which was slightly below analysts’ predictions. Employment issues were one reason for the diminished reading. In a press release, Timothy Fiore, president of the ISM, said absenteeism and difficulties in returning and hiring workers was a limiting factor for manufacturing growth.
  • The IHS Markit purchasing managers’ index for Canada registered 55.8 in November, up slightly from 55.5 in October, due to what the report called a “robust” increase in new orders. Click here to read the full report for Canada and here to read all global PMI reports for the month of November.
  • Small businesses in the United States continue to struggle. According to U.S. Census data, in November more small businesses reduced employment (12.2 percent) than increased it (4.3 percent) payrolls. More than one-third (38 percent) also saw a drop in revenue while 26 percent expect to need additional financial help in the next six months. Click here to view the data.
  • According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the U.S. economy added 245,000 jobs in November after gaining 638,000 jobs in October and 672,000 in September. Manufacturers added 27,000 jobs last month and the U.S. unemployment rate dropped from 6.9 percent in October to 6.7 percent in November. The BLS’ report also indicated the number of long-term unemployed people – those who have been out of work for 27 weeks or more – increased from 32.5 percent to 36.9 percent. Labor force participation also declined from 61.7 percent to 61.5 percent in the month of November, which means some individuals have stopped looking for work altogether. Click here to read the full report.
  • The Canadian economy added 62,100 jobs and the nation’s unemployment rate declined to 8.5 percent in November. While the number of new jobs added was nearly triple what analysts had predicted, employment still is down three percent from where it was before the COVID-19 pandemic, meaning about 448,000 Canadians who were employed earlier this year still cannot find work. The service sector added 17,900 jobs in November while employment in the goods sector increased 44,200.
  • In other U.S. employment news: the number of individuals who filed for federal unemployment benefits has dropped to a three-week low, with 712,000 filing for benefits during the week ending November 28. That figure is down from a peak of nearly 6.9 million at the end of March 2020, but also has not budged much since the end of September. Over the last nine weeks, the number of first-time jobless claims has averaged 763,333 per week. Click here for the full report.