April 2017

U.S. Infrastructure

Every four years, the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) issues a report card on the health of infrastructure in America. The full 2017 detailed report is not yet available but the overall score was D+ on an A to F scale, the same score as the previous report. Referencing the ASCE report card; Members [...]

U.S. Housing Starts and Permits

Total seasonally adjusted (SA), housing starts were reported at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1,253,000 for the month of March, on a 3MMA basis, up 8.8% year on year (y/y). Single family housing starts moved-up 5.8%, 3MMA y/y, while multi-family surged ahead by 15.4%, 3MMA y/y, over the same time comparison. Table 1 breaks down [...]

Architectural Billings Index

The national ABI score for March jumped to 54.3 (any score above 50 indicates an increase in billings), up 3.6 points from February’s 50.7. In an encouraging trend for future non-residential construction activity, the ABI has been greater than 50 for four of the last six months. The American Institute of Architects, advises that the [...]

Initial and Continuous Unemployment Claims

Initial claims grew by 10,000 for the week ending April 15th. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), cautions that this April payroll reference week results in data that may be less reliable because of the Easter holiday.  The four week moving average fell by 4,250 to 243,000 as continuing claims were down by 49,000 to [...]

U.S. Service Center Shipments

U.S. service center total carbon steel shipments increased by 5.6% month on month (m/m) in March on a three month moving average (3MMA) basis. An encouraging trend, this was the third consecutive monthly (3MMA), increase after a run of 23 months in a row of declining m/m shipments. Table 1 shows percentage change results for [...]

U.S. Industrial Production

This data is from the Federal Reserve and is seasonally adjusted. The index is based on the May 2012 level being defined as 100. The Industrial Production Index had an all-time high of 106.70 in November 2014 and had trended down since then.  Industrial production increased 0.5% in March on the heels of a 0.1% [...]

U.S. Scrap Exports

For the first two months of 2017, US scrap exports came in at 2,244,000 tonnes up 28.6% year on year. For the year 2016, bulk US scrap exports totaled 13,815,000 tonnes, up by 8.3% compared to the year 2015. Figure 1 presents scrap imports from the top six exporting countries for the period between 2013 [...]

U.S. Manufacturing Capacity Utilization

The manufacturing index moved up for the third consecutive month reaching 75.3897 in February. This places in just inside the desirable range of between 75 and 85. Greater than 85 is considered to be overheated, while less than 75 is in the recessionary zone.  Growth in the index is up 0.42% month on month but [...]

China Domestic Prices

China Metals Weekly (CMW), reported April 13th that China exported 7.56 million tonnes (Mt) of steel products in March, an increase of 1.81 Mt over February. The good news is that this amount was down by 24.2% year on year (y/y). CMW also reported that Chinese steel imports for the first quarter were 3.48 MT, [...]

Oil and Gas Rotary Rig Counts

The total number of operating rigs in the US the week ending April 14th was 847, 683 oil and 162 gas. For both oil and gas this was 33% higher than after the BP Gulf explosion April 2010. Month on month oil rigs were up 8.2% and gas rigs were up 3.2%, for an overall [...]