February 2017 ONI Insight: Market Indicators

The U.S. economy added 227,000 jobs in January, ahead of December’s gain of 157,000 jobs. The unemployment rate increased a bit to 4.8%.

Orders for U.S. capital goods rose more than forecast in December, showing businesses were adjusting investment plans amid prospects for stronger economic growth. More demand for capital goods, including machinery, electrical gear, and communications equipment, is a sign that businesses may be following up post-election sentiment by spending more.

Consumer confidence in the U.S. reached its highest level in 12 years reaching 98.5. This is better than the 98.1 expected by economists.

“The post-election surge in confidence was driven by a more optimistic outlook for the economy and job growth during the year ahead as well as more favorable economic prospects over the next five years,” said Richard Curtin, the survey’s chief economist.

According to Curtin, consumers are actually borrowing more in anticipation of interest rate hikes from the Federal Reserve.

The January Purchasing Managers Index registered 56%, an increase of 1.5 percentage points from the December reading of 54.5%. The New Orders Index registered 60.4%, an increase of 0.1 percentage point from the previous month and the Production Index registered 61.4%, up 2 percentage points from December.

Raw steel output in the U.S totaled an estimated 1,738,000 net tons week ending February 11, up 0.9% from the previous week, as mills operated at an average capacity utilization rate of 73.4%.

The global aluminum market is on course to move to a deficit by the end of the decade, however it is contingent on China curbing outdated capacity, according to BMI Research. Conditions appear to be tough for Chinese smelters in the short term as higher input costs for smelter are expected to weigh down production in the country, but whether it will be enough to force unprofitable smelters to take production offline remains unseen.

For more information on the metals market, contact your local sales representative or view the ONI Insight February 2017 below.

ONI Insight February 2017