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July 2020 Insight Guide: Market Indicators

The Economy

As COVID-19 continues to spread in the U.S., Goldman Sachs revised its GDP expectation for the third quarter. The bank now sees GDP growing 25%, down from the original expectation of 33%. The bank also sees total economic contraction worsening to 4.6% from 4.2%. This is largely due to slower-than-expected recovery in consumer spending.

American businesses added 4.8 million jobs in June, the second straight month of job additions amid the coronavirus pandemic. The unemployment rate came in at 11.1%, lower than the expected 12.5% and down from May’s reading of 13.3%.

Key Indicators

For the third consecutive month architecture firms saw their billings decrease. The May score of 32.0 was somewhat higher than that of April, but any score below 50 indicates a decline in firm billings.

The June Purchasing Managers Index registered 52.6%, up 9.5 points from the May reading of 43.1%. A PMI above 50 indicates expansion when compared to the previous month.

The Consumer Confidence Index increased to 98.1 in June, up from May’s reading of 85.9. This is still well below pre-pandemic levels, but the slow reopening of the economy and improvement in unemployment helped improve consumer’s views of the current conditions.

The Steel Industry

U.S. steel imports tumbled in May, down 35.5% from the previous month to roughly 1.79 million net tons. The decline reflects the impacts of the coronavirus pandemic and the 25% tariff on steel imports. Finished steel imports, however, rose to 13.2%.

On June 22, the Supreme Court said they would not hear the appeal for a case brought by the American Institute for International Steel. The case would challenge President Trump’s authority to increase steel tariffs. The American Iron and Steel Institute praised the Supreme Court’s decision, saying “This lawsuit by steel importers was a weak attempt to mask the fact that surging foreign imports have severely impacted the domestic steel industry and threaten our national and economic security.”

For more information, view the July 2020 Market Insight Guide below or contact your local sales representative.

Metalwest Market Insight - July 2020