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March 2019 Insight Guide: Market Indicators

The U.S. economy matched its best performance since the Great Recession of 2007-2009 last year. The nation’s GDP increased at a rate of 2.6% in the October-December period. That followed an average of 3.7% the prior two quarters. For the year, the economy grew 2.9%. This is the highest performance since 2015.

U.S. job growth almost stalled in February, with the economy creating only 20,000 jobs. The unemployment rate fell back to below 4% and annual wage growth was at the best since 2009.

The January Architecture Billings Index climbed to 55.3, up 4.9 points from the previous month. This is also the highest score in more than two years.

The February Purchasing Managers Index registered at 54.2%, a decrease of 2.4 points from the January reading. The New Orders Index registered 55.5%, down 2.7 points from the previous month. The Production Index registered at 54.8%, a 5.7-point decrease over January.

Zinc treatment charges and spot premiums are expected to increase for 2019. The International Zinc Association conference took place earlier this week in Scottsdale, Ariz. The topic of prices in the zinc market was main takeaway from those in attendance at the conference.

U.S. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue said he is working to persuade President Donald Trump that the U.S. steel industry can be protected by tariff rate quotas, rather than plain tariffs, on imports from Canada and Mexico.

The three countries signed the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) on Nov. 30 to replace the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). Perdue has been advocating for the removal of tariffs since the signing of the USMCA.

For more information, view the March 2019 Insight Guide below, or contact your local sales representative.

Metalwest Market Insight - March 2019