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January 2019 Market Insight – Market Indicators

Economic News

President Trump threatened to keep the federal government partly closed for “months or even years” if he does not get the funding for his wall at the U.S.-Mexico border, warning he may declare a national emergency to build it without congressional approval.

The partial shutdown also halted reviews of Section 232 exclusion requests, potentially prolonging a process that has already drawn much criticism from steel market participants.

The U.S. economy added 312,000 jobs in December, easing fears of recession amid the stock market turmoil. The unemployment rate rose from a 50-year low of 3.7% to 3.9%.

U.S. employers added the most workers in 10 months as wage gains and labor-force participation both increased. This reflects a robust job market that may still face mounting risks in 2019.

President Trump’s trade war is negatively effecting Americans more than Chinese consumers. Signs of threatened growth have arose across the global economy after tariffs were placed on hundreds of billions of dollars’ worth of products between the U.S. and China.

Economic Indicators

The November Architecture Billings Index registered 54.7, up compared to the October reading of 50.4. This is the strongest billings growth since January 2018. A score above 50 indicates an increase in billings.

The December Purchasing Managers Index registered 54.1%, down 5.2 percentage points from the November reading of 59.3%. The New Orders Index registered 51.1%, a decrease of 11 percentage points from the previous month. The Production Index registered at 54.3%, 6.3 percentage point decrease compared to November.

For more information, download the January 2019 Metalwest Market Insight below or contact your local sales representative.

Metalwest Market Insight - January 2019
NIM metalwest

Norfolk Iron & Metal Closes Acquisition of O’Neal Flat Rolled Metals from O’Neal Industries

BIRMINGHAM, AL and NORFOLK, NE – January 2, 2019 Norfolk Iron & Metal Co. (Norfolk Iron), a full-line steel service center, and O’Neal Industries Inc. (ONI), the largest family owned group of metals service centers in the United States, today jointly announced that Norfolk Iron has acquired O’Neal Flat Rolled Metals, LLC (OFR Metals), a wholly-owned subsidiary of ONI.

OFR Metals is a leading North American metals service center, focused on processing and distributing non-ferrous and carbon flat-rolled products from eight facilities, principally in the western US. OFR Metals will return to its former name, Metalwest, a name equally recognized for quality and service in the flat rolled industry. All members of OFR Metals’ management team are continuing in their current roles, with Jeff Simons continuing as president and CEO.

Norfolk Iron and OFR Metals are both businesses that place the highest importance on safety, employee engagement and exceptional customer service. The acquisition will enhance Norfolk Iron’s geographic footprint by adding eight new locations, while also expanding its product lines and capabilities for processing flat-rolled carbon, stainless and aluminium products.

“We are pleased to welcome the OFR Metals [Metalwest] team members to the Norfolk Iron family,” Richard Robinson, president of Norfolk Iron, said. “Investment in our business has always been an important part of our commitment to meet the growing needs of our customers. Metalwest is a natural fit with our current operations and brings complementary capabilities with the same reputation for outstanding service.”

“We could not be more excited about joining the Norfolk Iron team,” said Jeff Simons, president & CEO of OFR Metals [Metalwest]. “Our businesses create a family of companies with a broad geographic footprint and deep product offering, ready to meet the growing demands of our customer base.”

“We thank Jeff Simons and the entire OFR Metals team for their years of outstanding service and dedication to our company,” Holman Head, president and COO of ONI said.  “We couldn’t be more pleased to have the OFR Metals team become a part of Norfolk Iron & Metal, and we wish them every success.”

Headwall Partners, LLC and XMS Capital Partners, LLC are serving as financial advisers, and Maynard Cooper & Gale is providing legal services to ONI. Abrahams Kaslow & Cassman LLP is acting as legal counsel to Norfolk Iron. Financing has been provided by First National Bank of Omaha.