April 2017

Inventory Census

The US Census Bureau reported that new orders for manufactured goods increased $4.8 billion (B), or 1.0% to $476.5 B in February. This was the seventh increase in the past eight months and follows a 1.5% increase in January. Shipments increased by $1.4 B or 0.3% to $480.0 B and have risen in 11 of [...]

Producer Price Index for Construction

The PPI for all commodities moved up 4.9% year on year (y/y), its fourth month in a row of increases after a 24 month stretch of month on month declines. The material and construction components PPI also moved higher, up 2.0% y/y, its eighth consecutive y/y increase. Figure 1 shows the PPI for all commodities. [...]

Canada Beam Imports

The US is by far the largest exporter of beams to Canada, accounting for 54.1% of total imports for January.  The US sent 32,117 tons of beams north, up 44.6% from January 2016. Total beam imports for the month were 59,336 tons, down 7.6% year on year Figure 1 shows the exporting in ranked order [...]

U.S. Steel Beam and Fabricated Steel Beam Imports

Beam imports to the US in January were down 40.4% year on year (y/y), 40,987 in 2017 vs 68,799 in 2016. Conversely if we compare 2016 volume (471,430 tons) to 2015 (391,325 tons), we see that year on year beam import volume ramped up 20.4%. This increase was on the heels of a 26% increase [...]

Consumer Credit

Consumer jumped to to $15.2 billion (B) in January’s weak $8.8 B, beating the consensus estimate of $14.5 B. Revolving credit balanced fell moved-up $3 B month on month as non-revolving credit balances move-up a respectable $12.3 B. Non-revolving credit has maintained steady growth for seven consecutive months. Figure 1 compares revolving and non-revolving credit [...]

Dodge Momentum Index

The Dodge momentum index moved up 1.2 points or 0.9% in March. The index has now advanced for six consecutive months. The index predicts non-residential construction activity approximately 12 months out. The Institutional sub-index moved up 4.3% to an all-time high of 138.3, besting last month’s all-time high. The commercial sub-index fell to 149.4, off [...]

The Baltic Dry Index

The BDI is a shipping and trade index created by the London-based Baltic Exchange that measures changes in the cost to transport raw materials. The BDI includes three component ships: Capesizes, Panamaxes and Supramaxes. The BDI averaged 361 year to date (YTD) 2016.  In 2017 YTD the index has averaged 959. Capesize ships are the largest. The [...]

China Domestic Prices

According to China Metals Weekly, as of April 5th month on month (m/m) long product prices were down across the board ranging from 4.1% for 50# angle to 7.9% for 25# beam. For reference 3mm hot rolled coil prices fell 11.0% m/m. On a year on year comparison China steel prices were up an average [...]

ISM Non-Manufacturing Index

The ISM non-manufacturing survey measures the rate and direction of change in activity in non-manufacturing industries. A value of 50 is neutral, while less than 50 is contracting and greater than 50 is expansionary. The March Institute for Supply Management’s non-manufacturing index slid 2.4 points to 55.2, a little lower than the consensus expectations. On [...]

Automotive Sales

Total light vehicle, (LV) sales in February were at an annual rate, of 17.861 M units, up 0.512 million (M) from January, but down 0.185 M year on year (y/y). Light truck sales continue see solid growth, selling at an annualized rate of 11.589 M in February, up 0.561 M units m/m and up 0.705 M [...]