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May 2020 Insight Guide: Market Indicators

The Economy

The U.S. economy cut a record 20.5 million jobs in April, while the unemployment rate climbed to 14.7%, as the coronavirus pandemic forced businesses across the U.S. to temporarily shut down and lay off workers.

Key Indicators

The Architectural Billings Index fell by 20.1 points to a score of 33.3 for the month of March. This is the largest single-month decline in the index’s 25-year history. A score below 50 indicates a decline in billings.

The April Purchasing Managers Index registered at 41.5%, down 7.6 points from March. The New Orders Index registered 27.1%, a decrease of 15.1 points from the previous month. The Production Index fell 20.2 points to 27.5% for March.

The energy market evaporated in late March and April, as demand dropped more than 30%, domestic supply peak, and Saudi Arabia and Russia decided to engage in an oil price war. The result collapsed oil prices and sent West Texas Intermediate oil prices negative for the first time in history on April 20th, as traders couldn’t find storage for the produced oil and had to pay buyers to take it.

The Steel Industry

COVID-19 has had an undeniably large impact on commodities markets, including the ferrous supply chain. The most significant impact is the increasing disarray in price correlations between various segments of the ferrous supply chain after the COVID-19 pandemic began. To learn more about COVID-19’s impact on the steel industry, view the Market Insight Guide below.

Contact your local sales representative to learn more.

Metalwest Market Insight - May 2020