Steel Products

Key Economic Data

Written by John Packard

The Institute of Supply Management Purchasing Managers Index, (PMI) registered 50.9 percent in June, a decrease of 1.9 percentage points from May’s reading of 49.0 percent, but the three

month moving average (3MMA) declined for the third straight month to 50.2 percent.

The JPMorgan Global Manufacturing PMI indicated a sixth consecutive month of expansion in June with a reading of 50.6—unchanged from May. (Any reading above 50 indicates expansion.) However, growth was slower and weaker in the second quarter of the year compared to the first quarter. The PMI indicated solid growth for the US, Japan, the UK, Russia, Switzerland and Mexico. The Eurozone continues to be depressed but conditions are beginning to ease. Asia, including China, experienced some contraction during the June survey.

New export business fell for the first time in June, with reductions especially pronounced in China and the U.S. Average input prices rose marginally while average selling prices declined for the third month. Employment dropped below 50 for the first time in seven months.

The Empire State Manufacturing Survey beat economist expectations for July with the general business index registering a two point climb to 9.5. The reading indicates modest improvement in business conditions for New York manufacturers. 

The Architecture Billings Index (ABI) remained positive in June at 51.6. This is down from the 52.9 figure in June but up from the 48.6 figure in April. Compared to this time last year, June 2013 represents a surge of almost 6 index points. The inquiries index jumped to 62.6 in June, up from the previous month and the highest figure since January of this year. The American Institute of Architects (AIA) reported that the June score shows an increase in demand for design services

Housing construction slowed in June according to the U.S. Department of Commerce. Starts in June were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 836,000–9.9 percent below the revised May figure of 928,000 but up 10.4 percent from last June’s estimate of 757,000. The 3-month-moving-average (3MMA) for total housing starts was 873,000 units for June, a decline of 6.6 percent from that of May, but an increase of 17.9 percent from that of last June. 

Building permits
, an indicator of future growth, were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 911,000, 7.5 percent below the revised May rate of 985,000 but still 16.1 percent above levels in June of last year. The 3MMA for total building permits was 967,000 units for June, an increase of 0.7 percent from that of May and an increase of 24.0 percent from that of last June.

U.S. auto sales delivered “best ever” results in June that exceed expectations and are expected to show an overall rise of 8 percent compared to a year ago. Manufacturers and analysts are expecting sales for 2013 to top 15 million. June sales continued to be driven by demand for heavy duty pickup trucks reflecting the escalation of the housing industry. Light vehicle sales totaled 1.397 million units in June.

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