Metals Manufacturing Newsletter Feb 2016

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Metals & MFG Outlook Newsletter

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Metals & Manufacturing Outlook – February 2015

I. Cover Story: Beware of the Greeks
II. NORTH AMERICAN PERSPECTIVE
III. U.S. FORGING INDUSTRY
IV. MANUFACTURING TALK RADIO
V. EUROZONE
VI. ASIA OUTLOOK
VII. SOUTH AMERICA
VIII. THE MANUFACTURING SCENE
IX. THE FINAL WORD

Publisher’s Statement

America’s Headwinds

North America USA As America’s economic recovery continues stronger than any other global economy, it creates some of its own headwinds and faces others.

The first headwind created by our strong economy is our strong dollar, making our exports more expensive for consumers and businesses in other countries. In just a year, the ruble, the Euro, the Canadian dollar, the RMB and every other global currency have lost value against a strengthening dollar. This will affect more than 10% of the U.S. economy as overseas buyers lose their ability to purchase U.S. goods that could translate into lower manufacturing output, a softening jobs outlook, and then reduced purchasing by the U.S. of raw materials from overseas to make goods here for sale outside the U.S.

The second headwind is the result of economic weakness in virtually every other global economy. Russia has entered recession; Japan may pull out of the doldrums in 2015; Europe is teetering with German GDP up by 0.7%, France at 0.1%, Italy stagnant and Greece that could go either way; Brazil, South America’s largest economy, is struggling between recession and scandal; and China’s outlook remains cool. The absence of strong economies around the world make the strong dollar a bigger issue for U.S. exporters to overcome although it is great for buying parts and sub-assemblies from overseas.

Then there is the third headwind, the West Coast port chaos and negotiation brinkmanship. While the PMA and ILWU point fingers at each other in dueling press releases and more public comments, it is clear that productivity at the port has fallen to a fraction of the productivity at this time last year. Upwards of 40 container ships are either stuck at berth or bobbing at sea with incoming goods, and containers at the port are languishing for up to a month before they can be ‘found’ in the pile-up. Meanwhile, containers to be loaded for exports are idle and empty.

The mainstream press has given this problem little coverage. Until it is a strike, it doesn’t bleed enough to lead the nightly news or print, but the bleeding on this one is internal hemorrhaging that you won’t see until manufacturing’s blood pressure goes out of whack. Raw materials that manufacturers need for their production lines are several weeks late. Some holiday goods are just arriving are retail warehouses at a time when spring clothing and landscaping supplies should be at the loading docks of America’s distribution centers. Those spring goods are still in containers buried in the mountain of containers at West Coast ports, particularly Los Angeles and Long Beach, on ships at berth and not yet offloaded, or on ships that have not yet made port.

We are already seeing overtime knocked out at plants because they lack parts for assembly and outright layoffs may follow if the contract negotiations are not resolved before the ports reach gridlock, which is projected to hit within days.

And if there is a fourth headwind, it is that the Obama administration is applying its “strategic patience” (translation – do nothing; hope for the best). Well, hope is not a strategy, and America’s manufacturers, along with global customers have long since lost their patience waiting for leadership from somewhere – Washington, the PMA, the ILWU (neither of which wants to ‘give in’ and be seen as the capitulator) – California’s governor (aka Governor Moonbeam), to kick some backside before the economy goes from net positive to net negative.
Respectfully,

Tim Grady
Publisher

 

COVER STORY: BEWARE OF GREEKS?

economicPicThe US economy stays on an upward path, with all major indices  pointing confidently in the right direction. The cloud on the horizon is the West Coast port situation, and it’s sometimes difficult to understand how its effect is not being more seriously felt.

There is what may be termed encouraging news out of Europe this month, where we hear the term quantitative easing  (QE)     being used a lot. This means in effect that the European Central Bank (ECB) is to deliberately create new money     electronically to buy financial assets, such as government bonds, to the tune of 60 billion euros per month, until at least September 2016, in a bid     to spur growth and counter deflation. The euro’s gone down with     all this, which is good for exports.

QE had been tried some years before in the US, the UK and Japan, and had in fact been very successful in stimulating their respective economies. The news out of the ECB started a strong stockmarket rally in Europe. It also upset Ms Angela Merkel, German Chancellor and holder of the eurozone’s purse strings. It seems she hadn’t been consulted in advance, and in any case she’s all in favor of austerity. But QE will go ahead, and will almost certainly spur the eurozone economy.

Greece went to the polls and elected the far-left Syriza party led by Alexis Tsipras. He wants Greece’s huge debt reduced, a debt extended by Angela Merkel back in 2011-2012. But most of Greece’s debt is held  by other European countries, and they might have a word or two to say. The word austerity is a word Greece doesn’t want to hear.

As we all know, France was hit by a very nasty terrorist attack where the whole cartooning staff of Charlie Hebdo was wiped out.

The PMI figure from the Institute of Supply Management was at 53.5 percent in January, down from December’s seasonally adjusted 55.1 percent. This represents manufacturing expansion for the 20th consecutive month and growth in the overall economy for the 68th consecutive month.

The Bureau of Economic Analysis came out with its ‘first’ estimate for the annual rate of Real GDP growth in the fourth quarter of 2014, placing it at 2.6 percent. Its ‘second’ estimate will be published in late February.

The Markit PMI for the US manufacturing sector was at 53.9 in January, unchanged from the December figure. Production levels rose at their strongest pace for three months, but new business growth moderated for the fourth time in the past five months.

Dun and Bradstreet’s US Business Health Index was up by  0.7 percent year-on-year in January. The Small Business Index was up 2.5 points.

D and B’s US Jobs Health, with 238,000 non-farm jobs added in January, shows increases in jobs in all sectors; Manufacturing, Construction, Retail, Business Services, Trade, Transportation and Utilities and Real Estate. were all up.

Delinquencies and risk of business failure fell for the month and US companies showed sustained financial strength.

World crude steel production for the 65 reporting countries for  2014 was 1,662Mt, a 1.2 percent year-on-year increase over 2013.

Steel Times International reports that apparent steel use grew by 2 percent to 1.56 billion tonnes in 2014 after a 3.8 percent increase in 2013. Apparent steel use in 2015 is forecast to increase a further 2 percent to 1.59 billion tonnes.

The Kiplinger Letter out of Washington D C reports that small business is on the up, and that many firms with less than 50 employees have plans to expand, move into new markets and hire new employees. Sales and profits are expected to be up this year following a strong finish to 2014. Sales gains of 8-9 percent are forecast, with net profits up by 6 percent. More than half of small firms are seeking workers. Businesses with 50 workers or less account for almost 30 percent of US employment. Many employers are expecting to find it difficult to fill openings due to a lack of skilled applicants.

US crude steel production, for 2014, was 88.3Mt, a 1.7 percent y-o-y increase over 2013.

Primary Global Aluminum Production in December 2014 was 4.659 million tonnes. Of this total, 2.481 million tonnes, or just over  53 percent, was produced in China.

Here are the latest figures for US new car and light truck sales for ‘the big eight’ for January 2015. This is reported as the best January since 2001. Note that the Chrysler name has been replaced by FCA US LLC.

The ‘Big Eight’ January ’15 January ’14 YTD % change
General Motors 202786 171486 18.3
Ford 177441 153494 15.6
FCA US LLC 145007 127183 14
Toyota 169194 146365 15.6
Honda 102184 91631 11.5
Nissan 104107 90470 15.1
Hyundai/Kia 82804 81016 2.2
Volkswagen 39141 36944 5.9
Total new cars and light trucks 1152480 1013426 13.7


II NORTH AMERICAN PERSPECTIVE

 welding robots The Institute of Supply Management PMI figure registered 53.5 percent in January, 1.6 percentage points below December’s seasonally adjusted 55.1 figure, representing expansion in manufacturing for the 20th  consecutive month.

Fourteen of the eighteen industries reported growth in January, in order, Primary Metals; Wood Products; Printing & Related Support Activities; Miscellaneous Manufacturing; Fabricated Metal Products; Electrical Equipment, Appliances & Components; Petroleum & Coal Products; Paper Products; Transportation Equipment; Chemical Products; Machinery; Food, Beverage & Tobacco Products; Computer & Electronic Products and Furniture & Related Products. Two industries reported contraction in January, namely Textile Mills and Nonmetallic Mineral Products.

Comments on the month from the manufacturing sector are generally  positive, with Primary Metals and Fabricated Metal Products sectors experiencing very good business. The concern regarding the West Coast port situation is increasing, with Wood Products, Chemical Products and Paper Products respondents complaining vehemently about materials being unavailable, and an inability to ship out export orders.

The following 5 components of the ISM’s PMI, New Orders, Production, Employment, Supplier Deliveries and Inventories are equally weighted and used to calculate the PMI number. A monthly PMI over 50.0 indicates an expanding economy; a number over 60.0 indicates strong manufacturing output, although overheating may occur.

  • The ISM New Orders Index for January, at 52.9 perccnt, was down by 4.9 percentage points from December’s seasonally adjusted 57.8 percent, representing growth in new orders for the 20th consecutive month. Ten industries reported growth in new orders in January, including, in order, Paper Products; Primary Metals; Fabricated Metal Products; Transportation Equipment; Food, Beverage & Tobacco Products and Chemical Products. Four  industries showed a decrease in January, including, in order, Textile Mills; Petroleum & Coal Products and Nonmetallic Mineral Products.
  • The ISM Production Index, at 56.5 percent in January, was down 1.2 percentage points from December’s seasonally adjusted 57.7 percent reading. This represents growth in production for the 11th consecutive month. Growth was noted in eight industries, including, in order, Printing & Related Support Activities; Primary Metals; Paper Products; Fabricated Metal Products; Computer & Electronic Products and Chemical Products. Three industries reported a decrease in production in January, Textile Mills; Nonmetallic Mineral Products and Food, Beverage & Tobacco Products. Seven industries reported no change when compared to December.
  • The ISM Employment Index for January, at 54.1 percent, is down 1.9 percentage points from December’s seasonally adjusted reading of 56.0 percent, representing an increase in employment for the 19th consecutive month. Growth in employment in January  was reported in nine industries, including, in order, Petroleum & Coal Products; Miscellaneous Manufacturing; Primary Metals; Paper Products; Fabricated Metal Products; Food, Beverage & Tobacco Products and Chemical Products. Four industries, Nonmetallic Mineral Products; Computer & Electronic Products; Transportation Equipment and Machinery showed a decrease in employment in January.
  • The ISM Supplier Deliveries Index to manufacturing organizations – slowed in January at a slower rate relative to December as the Supplier Deliveries Index registered 52.9 percent, or 5.7 percentage points below December’s seasonally adjusted 58.6 reading. A reading below 50 percent represents faster deliveries, above 50 percent means slower deliveries. Slower supplier deliveries were noted in 10 industries in January including, in order, Primary Metals; Plastics & Rubber Products; Transportation Equipment; Fabricated Metal Products; Food, Beverage & Tobacco Products; Machinery and Chemical Products. Faster supplier deliveries in December were noted in Printing & Related Support Activities and Paper Products.
  • The ISM Inventories Index, at 51.0 percent for January, is 5.5 percentage points higher than the 45.5 percent reading for December, indicating a growth in raw materials inventories following one month of contraction. Six industries reported higher inventories in January, in order, Wood Products; Fabricated Metal Products; Machinery; Furniture & Related Products; Chemical Products and Primary Metals. Seven industries reported lower inventories in January, including Plastics & Rubber Products; Computer & Electronic Products; Paper Products and Food, Beverage & Tobacco Products.

The following 5 components of the ISM’s PMI, Customer Inventories, Prices, Backlog of Orders, Exports and Imports are not used to calculate the PMI number but are tracked for trends in the marketplace

  • The ISM Customers’ Inventories Index, registered 42.5 percent in January, 2.0 percentage points lower than December’s 44.5 reading, meaning that customers’ inventories are considered to be too low.Two manufacturing industries showed too high customers’ inventories in January, namely Nonmetallic Mineral Products and Food, Beverage & Tobacco Products. Ten industries reported too low customers’ inventories in January, namely Textile Mills; Transportation Equipment; Apparel, Leather & Allied Products, Plastics & Rubber Products; Machinery; Electrical Equipment, Appliances & Components; Primary Metals; Paper Products; Computer & Electronic Products and Miscellaneous Manufacturing.
  •  The ISM Prices Index registered 35.9 percent in January, a 3.5 percent decrease on the December reading of 38.5 percent. This represents a decrease in raw material prices for the third consecutive month, and a total price decrease of 18.5 percentage points over these three months.  In January 11 percent of respondents reported paying higher prices, 41 percent reported paying lower prices and 48 percent reported paying the same     prices as in December. Only one industry reported paying higher prices in January, namely Printing & Related Support activities. Fifteen industries reported paying lower prices, including Textile Mills; Plastics & Rubber Products; Petroleum & Coal Products; Paper Products; Fabricated Metal Products; Chemical Products; Machinery; Transportation Equipment and Primary Metals.

Up in price in January were corn-based products and electric components (2)

Down in price in January were Aluminum (2), Brass (2), carbon steel, copper (6), copper-based products, Diesel (4), Ethylene, Fuel oil, Gasoline (4), HDPE Resin (2), natural gas, nickel, oil, oil-based products (3), PET Resin (3), Plastic resin (2), Polypropylene Resin (2), scrap steel (2), stainless steel (3) steel (2), steel, cold-rolled and steel, hot-rolled (3).

    Nothing was reported in short supply in January

The figures in parentheses represent the number of months listed.

  •    The ISM Backlog of Orders Index was at 46.0 percent in January, a 6.5 percentage points decrease from December’s 52.5 percent reading. This represents a contraction in order             backlogs after three months of growth. Of the 87 percent of respondents reporting, 18 percent reported greater backlogs, 26 percent reduced backlogs and 56 percent reported no change from December. Three industries reported increased order backlogs in January, Wood products; Primary Metals and Fabricated Metal Products.  Eleven industries reported reduced backlogs in January, including in order, Textile Mills; Apparel, Leather & Allied Products; Transportation Equipment; Food, Beverage & Tobacco Products; Paper Products and Machinery.
  • The ISM New Export Orders Index at 49.5 percent for January is 2.5 percentage points down on December’s 52.0 percent reading. The month’s reading represents a month of contraction in exports following 25 consecutive months of growth. Five industries reported an increase in New Export Orders in January, namely Electrical Equipment, Appliances and Components; Computer & Electronic Products; Fabricated Metal Products; Food, Beverage & Tobacco Products and  Transportation Equipment.  Six industries reported a decrease in New Export Orders in January, namely Textile Mills; Paper Products; Primary Metals; Machinery; Chemical Products and Furniture & Related Products.
  • The ISM ImportsIndex, at 55.5 percent in January, is one half percentage point higher than December’s 55.0 percent reading. This represents the 24th consecutive month of growth in imports. Eight industries reported an increase in imports in January, in order, Printing and Related Support Activities; Transportation Equipment; Fabricated Metal Products; Computer & Electronic Products; Machinery; Chemical Products; Food, Beverage & Tobacco Products and Furniture & Related Products. Four industries reported a decrease in imports in January, namely, Nonmetallic Mineral Products; Plastics & Rubber Products; Paper Products and Primary Metals.

CANADA’S RBC (Royal Bank of Canada) Manufacturing PMI is at 51.0 percent in January, 2.9 percentage points lower than December’s 53.9 reading. The month saw a sharp slowing in the Canadian Manufacturing Sector, with overall business conditions improving at the weakest pace since April 2013. Production and new business volumes grew but at a much slower rate than in December. Employment dropped for the first time since early 2014.

Light vehicle sales in Canada in January, at 99.051 units, were 3.4 percent up on a year ago. The peak sales month in 2014 was May, when just under 200,000 vehicles left the showrooms.

Mexico saw its manufacturing PMI go from December’s 55.3 percent to 56.6 percent in January, its highest level since December 2012. Manufacturers report good production performance and increases in new orders, with slight increases in export business. Job creation is at a 27-month high.

Mexico produced 1.50 Mt of crude steel in December 2014.


III US FORGING INDUSTRY

Forging anvil HHI Forging in Dearborn, Michigan, plans a $7.5 million investment in new forging equipment at its subsidiary Impact Forge Group’s facility in Columbus, Indiana. The first stage of new equipment was installed last year in the 138,000sq. ft. facility, with phase 2 scheduled for installation through 2015. Impact Forge supplies safety-related forged parts to the automotive industry. The new equipment will serve to increase production capacity of components used in eight- and nine-speed transmissions.

IV. Manufacturing Talk Radio

MANUFACTURING-TALK-RADIO-port-nyc Manufacturing Talk Radio continues to provide the best insights into the facts and figures behind America’s economic recovery. Brad Holcomb, committee chair of the ISM’s Report on Business(R) goes into this document in depth on the first show of each month. January’s PMI(R) number rolled up to 53.5 and while not as strong as some Q4 numbers in 2014, still in growth territory. Be sure to tune on March 3rd at 1:00 p.m. ET on www.mfgtalkradio.com to hear Mr. Holcomb drill down into the PMI(R) number for February.

And, if you wonder where manufacturers spend nearly a billion dollars each year, check out our show on Wacky Labels and Frivolous Lawsuits that aired on January 13th with Bob Dorigo Jones. Bob has appeared on dozens of national and international TV and radio programs, including NBC Nightly News, ABC News’ 20/20, BBC WorldNews, FOX News, and CNBC. We will have him back on Manufacturing Talk Radio to give manufacturers’ another heads up on CYA for their product warning labels.

We were also pleased to have Dr. Chris Kuehl on January 20th giving the manufacturing community of listeners his forecast for 2015. Dr. Kuehl has been the economist for the Fabricators and Manufacturers Association International for the past 8 years with a special presentation at FabTech, which will be held at McCormick Place in Chicago this year, November 9-12, 2015. Chris always brings a great sense of humor and wit to a subject that can be traditionally dry and dull. He will be back with us, likely in March, to tell us where the economy appears to be headed, unless…

Wrapping up January, we were pleased to have Mr. Cliff Waldman, Director of Economic Studies with the Manufacturers Alliance for Productivity and Innovation present his views on “Made in America?” – the baffling complexity of parts, sub-assemblies and supply chain sources from all over the world that make one question just how the American-made label applies these days. MAPI is always a great source of forward-looking information that questions the seemingly obvious and delves into many not-to-obvious subjects.

February has an equally exciting line-up of shows that can be heard live and later as a podcast on www.mfgtalkradio.com, iTunes, and PodBean – just search for Manufacturing Talk Radio!
Tune in at www.mfgtalkradio.com or download the podcast for later listening at the website or iTunes.


IV EUROZONE

eurozone-steelforge Markit’s Eurozone Manufacturing Composite Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) for January saw a slight improvement to 51.0 from December’s 50.6 reading. Improvements in business conditions were noted in Germany, Spain, The Netherlands and Ireland. Manufacturing downturns in France, italy. Austria and Greece continued at the start of the year, but the rate contractions in France and Italy eased off slightly, with steep downturns noted in Austria and Greece.  Some country PMIs are as follows:

PMI High/low
Ireland 55.1 8-month low
Spain 54.7 2-month high
Netherlands 54.1 2-month high
Germany 50.9 2-month low
Italy 49.9 4-month high
France 49.2 8-month high
Austria 48.5 2-month low
Greece 48.3 15-month low

Crude steel production in the eurozone in 2014 was at 169.2Mt, up 1.7 percent y-o-y. Germany produced 42.9Mt, up 1.7 percent y-o-y; Italy 23.7Mt, down 1.4 percent y-o-y; France 16.1Mt, up 2.9 percent y-o-y and Spain 14.2Mt, down 0.6 percent y-o-y.

Western European car sales showed an upturn at the beginning of the year. Germany’s sales were up 3 percent to 211,337 new registrations, in January, France up 6 percent to 132,824, Italy up 11 percent to 131,385 and Spain, still on a scrappage program, up 28 percent to 68,118 new registrations.

The UK saw its Markit PMI move up slightly to 53.0 percent in January. There was a slight improvement in production and new orders, with an improvement in new export orders, the first such improvement for five months.

UK car sales were up 6.7 percent y-o-y in January, making this the strongest january since 2007. New car registrations were at 164,856 units, representing 35 consecutive months of sales increases.

The JP Morgan Global Manufacturing PMI – a composite index produced by JP Morgan and Markit in association with ISM and IFPSM (International Federation of Purchasing and Supply Management) – improved slightly to 51.7 from December’s (corrected) 51.1 figure.


V ASIA OUTLOOK

 Asia Economy Crude steel production in Asia for 2014 was at 1132.3Mt, up 1.4 percent y-o-y, with China producing 822.7Mt, up 0.9 percent y-o-y; Japan 110.7Mt up 0.1 percent y-o-y; India 83.2Mt, up 2.3 percent y-o-y and South Korea 71.0Mt, up 7.5 percent y-o-y.

The HSBC China manufacturing PMI for January edged up very slightly from December’s 49.6 percent reading to 49.7. There was a slight deterioration in operating conditions at the beginning of 2015, as was also seen at the end of 2014. Output rose slightly and new orders stabilized, but employment was down for the 15th successive month. The first increase in production in three months was noted.

The final 2014 figures for 2014 Chinese auto sales show 3.79 million commercial vehicles and 19.71 million passenger cars.

In Japan, the Markit manufacturing PMI is at 52.2 percent in January, slightly up from December’s final figure of 52.0 percent. The month saw a solid improvement in operating conditions in the Japanese manufacturing sector. Production growth continued for the sixth consecutive month, with further increases in both new orders and employment.

Total new vehicle registrations in Japan for the month of January 2015, at 401,366 units, were down y-o-y by 19.1 percent from the 496,105 vehicles registered in January 2014.

India’s manufacturing (HSBC) PMI dropped from December’s 54.5 percent reading to 52.9 percent.  reading. Even though this is a 3-month low reading, the Indian manufacturing sector continued to grow solidly in January. There was consolidation, in spite of the rate of growth slipping to a 3-month low, and both domestic and export orders continued to grow, particularly in the consumer goods sector. The word presently coming out of India is SOLID.


VI SOUTH AMERICA

Brazil’s crude steel production for the year 2014 was 33.9Mt, a y-o-y decrease of 0.7 percent.

The seasonally adjusted HSBC and Markit Brazil PMI increased from 50.2 percent in December to 50.7 percent in January. Production and new orders were up for the first time in ten months and this was accompanied by a faster improvement in operating conditions. Employment, on the other hand, was stagnant.


VII  THE MANUFACTURING SCENE : INDIA’S NEW PM, GOOD FOR BUSINESS.

Forging India’s (relatively) new Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, has already made himself known on the diplomatic front by establishing ties with both China and Japan and by taking tea, while discussing business, with US president Barack Obama.

India is a country mired in bureaucracy and rules and regulations that do not particularly encourage people to invest in it, certainly not as a joint venture. This may be about to be eased and changed under Mr. Modi, who has recently coined a marketing slogan ”Make in India” that India will carry around the world when they display it at the World International Fair in Hannover, Germany, this coming April.

India has lots going against it as a manufacturing nation, but a lot going for it too. Its infrastructure and its power supplies leave, to say the least, much to be desired. There is further a lack of skilled labor in the manufacturing sector that time alone may alleviate. On the other hand labor costs are very low and there are lots of people who might both teach and learn the secrets of manufacturing.

Before Modi took over as Prime Minister, he was head of the  state government in Gujarat, and during his 13 years in power there he made the state an industrial leader. Manufacturing accounts for 28 percent of Gujarat’s economy, compared with 13 percent for the country as a whole, and only slightly less than the 30 percent figure for  China. Mr Modi is determined to make his country a major player in the global manufacturing game and to make sure that his country’s youth benefits accordingly. This he will do by building up its infrastructure and making it progressively more efficient, and by using the huge labor pool at his disposal to maximum effect. The hourly cost of labor in China is presently at $3.52; that in India is $0.92. There is no other country in the world with the human resources of China or India, hence no other country that could take China’s place, apart from India. Like China, India has a huge diaspora, hence people who would be willing to invest in an Indian manufacturing  scene more friendly to outside investment.

Japan has committed to investing $36 billion, China $20 billion, in India, funds that will be used to create a giant industrial corridor between Delhi and Mumbai, involving the construction of high- speed trains and superhighways, much as happened in Guangdong province in China.

Plans are underway to increase manufacturing’s share of GDP to 23 percent by 2022, and to create an additional 100 million manufacturing jobs by the same year, a significant number of which will be skilled jobs.

Mr. Modi and Barack Obama have spoken of the possibility of US cooperation in India’s nuclear energy program, an idea that wouldn’t have been considered prior to Mr. Modi’s coming to power.

(Thanks to Bloomberg for some of the information in this section)

    THE ECONOMIST magazine, in its latest weekly report on world economies, highlights changes in Gross Domestic Product (GDP), Industrial Production, Consumer Prices and Unemployment Rates for what it considers the world’s major economies. These data are not necessarily good to the present day, but are mostly applicable to at latest the past two months, and show definite trends in the world economy. The figures are qualified as being the latest available, and with reference to a given quarter or month.  The figures for GDP represent the % change on the previous quarter, annual rate. The industrial production figures represent year-on-year changes, as do the consumer prices increases. The unemployment figures, %, are for the month as noted.

GDP Indl Prodn Cons prices Unemployt
United States +5.0 (qtr) +4.9 (Dec) +0.8 (Dec) 5.6 (Dec)
Canada +2.8 (qtr) +3.4 (Oct) +1.5 (Dec) 6.7 (Dec)
China +6.1 (qtr) +7.9 (Dec) +1.5 (Dec) 4.1 (Qtr 4)
Japan -1.9 (qtr) – 3.7 (Nov) +2.4 (Nov) 3.5 (Nov)
Britain +2.0 (qtr) +1.1 (Nov) +0.5 (Dec) 5.8 (Oct)
Euro Area +0.6 (qtr) -0.4 (Nov) -0.2 (Dec) 11.5 (Nov)
France +1.0 (qtr) – 2.6 (Nov) +0.1 (Dec) 10.3 (Nov)
Germany +0.3 (qtr) -0.6 (Nov) +0.2 (Dec) 6.5 (Dec)
Spain +2.0 (qtr) -0.1 (Nov) – 1.0 (Dec) 23.9 (Nov)
India + 8.1 (qtr) +3.8 (Nov0 + 5.0 (Dec) 8.8 (2013)
Brazil + 0.3 (qtr) – 5.7 (Nov) + 6.4 (Dec) 4.8 (Nov)
Argentina – 2.1 (qtr) – 2.4 (Dec) 7.5 (Qtr 3)
Mexico + 2.0 (qtr) + 1.8 (Nov) + 4.1 (Dec) 4.4 (Dec)

 

VII THE FINAL WORD

Business agreement on energy trade The US economy is still doing well, but the West Coast port cloud is still in place. A little time will be required to measure the effectiveness of Europe’s financial manoeuvers, and their political ones.

GALLUP’s USEconomic Confidence Index averaged +3 forthe month of January, up 8 points from December. This is the first positive reading for an entire month since the recession. The job creation index for the month of January was +28, just below the seven-year high seen in September 2014

It’s still optimism.

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