June 16, 2020

Why MTR is Such a Critical Resource for MSCI Members

While there is a lot of data out there, very little of it addresses the metals service center market on a high-frequency basis. MSCI has filled that void with two timely monthly reports, MTR (Metal Tendencies Report) and MAR (Metals Activity Report). Together, they are designed to help our members make smart, informed business decisions.

Why MTR is Important

We created the Metals Tendencies Report to provide our members with an early indicator of where service center executives believe the market is going, so members can validate their company’s instincts about market trends against the collective opinion of industry leaders. We invite more than 1,400 service center company executives across North America to take part in an opinion survey, and we work with respected economic consulting firm McCoy Scott & Company to gather the information, compile it and present it. Metals industry leaders are asked specifically for their expectations on shipments and product on order from suppliers for Carbon and Alloy, Stainless, Aluminum, and Copper and Brass material. We also ask about their expectations on future change to employment levels. Results are tabulated for both the U.S. and Canada reflecting different economies and are available by the first of the month.

We present results as a Diffusion Index for each answer. This index shows not only industry leaders’ attitudes toward future growth or decline in the aggregate, but also the degree of consensus. Is everyone in agreement on future prospects, or is there significant disagreement? That information is a critical component to analyzing the results of the survey. The results are then adjusted for seasonality. Expected and historical seasonal movements—such as automobile production decreasing in July, or heating oil usage increasing in the Fall—are removed from the results. Without these adjustments, direct month to month comparisons of level changes between January and May or November would not be possible.

The Metals Activity Report, on the other hand, provides hard detailed data on what is actually happening to shipments, inventory and material on order from suppliers.

Historically, the MTR has been a strong indicator of future near term changes, which gives our member companies a head start for business planning. The MAR report that follows will not only confirm this information, but also provide a deeper dive into the trends. For example the MTR may indicate a significant decline in shipments over the next three months, and then the MAR will show actual month to month numbers, revealing the magnitude of that decline.

Both MTR and MAR are professionally prepared by our economics consulting firm, and rely on the same reliable inputs, knowledge of business cycles, and an unbiased approach to analyzing and reporting data.

The time commitment to complete the MTR survey is minimal, which encourages a tremendous response rate. The executives that participate represent a wide range of company sizes and locations, providing an accurate and industry-wide snapshot of expected growth (or decline).

What Do You Want to Know?

The MTR survey is short, but the results show if the market is expected to get better or worse. Over the next three months do you expect your shipments to increase, decrease and by how much? How about your materials on order? Your workforce numbers?  We aggregate the results to develop a complete picture of what’s expected for the next three months.

The Best Metals Industry Data: MTR + MAR

We issued our first monthly MTR nearly 15 years ago. Free to members, our Metals Tendencies Report has proven itself to be an accurate and valuable resource, providing timely insights into what’s happening, and what is expected to happen. By watching the monthly fluctuations over time, our members can also make longer-term predictions on trends affecting their business and the industry. When MTR is used in conjunction with MAR, the information can be especially valuable, and supply our members with the kinds of insights they crave.

Learn More About Our Metals Tendencies Reports!