The Federal Reserve, on Thursday, left short-term interest rates unchanged.

The Conference Board Leading Economic Index

The US Leading Economic Index (LEI) for the US increased 0.1 percent following no change in July and a 0.6 percent June increase.”

The US LEI suggests economic growth will remain moderate into the New Year, with little reason to expect growth to pick up substantially. Average working hours and new orders in manufacturing have been weak, pointing to more slow growth in the industrial sector. However, employment, personal income and manufacturing and trade sales have all been rising, helping to offset the weakness in industrial production in recent months.”

Ataman Ozyildirim
Director of Business Cycles and Growth Research at the Conference Board

From American Metal Market 09/14

US ferrous and non-ferrous scrap markets are in the midst of a “perfect storm” of macroeconomic and pricing variables, exerting tremendous pressure on prices and squeezing domestic market participants’ margins…. A combination of the plunge in commodity prices, a stronger US dollar, chronically low capacity utilization rates and a slowdown in China’s economy are among the challenges faced by the scrap industry.”

Institute for Scrap Recycling Industries (ISRI)
Commodities Roundtable in Chicago

The perfect storm will be here until the dollar weakens,” ISRI chief economist and director of commodities, Joseph Pickard said, describing the outcome as a competitively harsh pricing environment for the steel and scrap industries.”

As China’s scrap consumption cools and exports of primary metals and semi-finished steel continue to flood the global market, the challenges facing the US ferrous and non-ferrous scrap industries will be broad and far-reaching, attendees said. Scrap will likely continue to pile up in the US until alternative markets are found, while metal imports soar and exert substantial pressure on domestic market players.”

The special bar quality (SBQ) steel market has weakened slightly due to lower scrap pricing and muted demand, according to market participants.

Scrap prices for certain grades fell $10.00 per gross ton in September and SBQ surcharges look set to follow suit.

The market is still soft a Midwest distributor source said. There’s a lot of capacity out there and less demand, so that’s not usually a good thing.”

September 2015 Empire State Manufacturing Survey

Business activity declined for a second consecutive month for New York manufacturers.

US Raw Steel Production

US raw steel production dropped 2.7 percent last week as mills operated at an ACUR of 70.9 percent. In the corresponding week last year mills operated at an ACUR of 78.1 percent. On the year, mills have produced approx. 63,000,000 tons so far this year at an ACUR of 72.5 percent, down from the approx. 68,000,000 tons produced at an ACUR of 78 percent in the like period last year.

The Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia Manufacturing Business Outlook Survey 8/2015

It reports that manufacturing activity in the region increased in August. The current indicators for new orders and employment suggest steady conditions. The survey’s indicators of future activity predict a continuation of growth in the regions manufacturing sector over the next six months.

The clouds hovering over US steel service centers are seen remaining through year end (we would be lucky if this crap turned around by years end), with shipments slipping further last month. While service center shipments were up modestly on a tons-per-day basis, they were not up as much as the seasonal norm for August. This would seem to indicate that demand is weak, which would be consistent with recent reports that energy softness is bleeding into other end markets.”

From an American Metal Market article 9/16

Conservatives lost a great candidate for president as former Texas Governor Rick Perry suspended his campaign last Friday. He holds an exemplary record as governor, is a veteran, a patriot and a true conservative. This is a loss for the country.

The Debates

Watching the Republican debates on Wednesday was more than a little disconcerting as moderator Jake Tapper of CNN did his best to create animosity between the candidates. Instead of questions on what the candidates would do to deal with the problems we face, he persisted in questions which asked for responses to barbs the candidates have been throwing at each other. What a joke…This is a pivotal election for the United States and choosing the right candidate for our country is of the utmost importance. All this other crap is nonsense and of no value to anyone, except maybe the Democrats.

I was very impressed by Carly Fiorina, I thought Chris Christie did very well as did Marco Rubio. Lindsey Graham is right on to hammer away at the threat of radical Islam facing the United States and the world. Donald Trump took a couple of steps back. The theatrics of his insults are wearing thin and without putting forth solid ideas he will be doomed. You can’t just say “I’m going to do it…trust me…” It doesn’t work in a dangerous world.

Have a great weekend…. God bless America!

Buy American made products whenever you can, it’s good for you, good for your friends and neighbors and good for our country.
If you are hiring…try to hire a veteran…. they are loyal, disciplined, hardworking…and they deserve our support.

Remember these tidbits as the election cycle grinds on:

  • Fast & Furious-Americans killed by guns supplied to the drug cartels…by the Department of Justice-Eric Holder presiding. The president was clueless. No one held accountable
  • Benghazi: Four Americans killed in an assault described as the result of a viral video. This was proved to be a false narrative. This was in fact, a planned act of terror. The president was clueless. No one even knows where he was as this went down. No one held accountable
  • “At this point, what difference does it make?” Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State
  • The IRS targeting of conservative groups and individuals. No one held accountable, Lois Lerner is on paid vacation and has refused to testify. The president was clueless. No one held accountable
  • Hillary using a private server for correspondence during her term as Secretary of State against the orders of the president. She thought “it would be more convenient…” Though the records were due when she left office, they were not submitted, subpoenas were issued, which she ignored for two years. Finally, she released 30,000 of some 60,000 alleged emails then she deleted the rest of the emails and will NOT turn over the server for investigation.