A Look at the Numbers
By Dan Markham
on May 8, 2018
There is no shortage of industrial and macroeconomic data available to the curious metals executive, but tracking and amassing it all can be nearly a full-time job.
Here are a few of the recently revealed bits of information, with hat tips to the Aluminum Association, Majestic Steel’s Core Report and the World Steel Association.
In the monthly IHS Markit Purchasing Managers Index, the April Manufacturing PMI reached its highest level in more than three years. The PMI of 56.6 percent represented the fastest growth in the sector since September 2014.
According to U.S. Census Bureau data, construction spending through the first quarter totaled $279 billion, an increase of 5.5 percent from the first three months of 2017.
Also from the Census Bureau, the trade index is moving in the right direction, but still a net negative for the U.S. March exports increased and imports declined from February, but the overall trade deficit only dropped from $57.7 billion to $49.0 billion.
In Morgan Stanley’s Flatbed Truckload Freight Index, the U.S. index reached its highest point in more than a decade, signaling tight capacity levels. Prices are continuing to push higher for shippers.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported the U.S. added 164,000 jobs in April, all of them and more coming from the private sector. Government jobs declined by 4,000 in April.
Global Steel demand in 2018 is expected to increase 1.8 percent to 1.6 million tons and another 0.7 percent in 2019. In North America, the WSA forecasts global demand to climb 3 percent this year to 145 million tons, plus another 1.6 percent next year.