US consumers are dragging the world economy through a soft patch, with growth revised upwards to an annualized 3.9% and more help on the way from plummeting oil prices.
The whole world is relying on US consumers for demand as China slows down, the eurozone struggles, and commodity exporters are forced to retrench. But the latest figures suggest US consumers are shouldering the burden, a Financial Times analysis showed.
The biggest disappointment of 2014 for the US economy has been housing. There was more evidence of slowing house prices, with the Case-Shiller index up 4.9% on a year ago in September, compared with a 5.6% increase in August.
That suggests a phase of rapid recovery in US house prices is over. Feeble growth in household incomes and tight mortgage availability mean there is not enough demand to drive prices higher.
Stronger housing activity – new construction in particular – will be important for the US economy to sustain its growth in 2015.
The weekly US Midwest bar fuel surcharge saw a 1.7% decline, finishing at $0.51 per short ton and making it the week’s biggest mover on the weekly Construction MMI®. The weekly US Gulf Coast bar fuel surcharge fell 1.3% over the past week to $0.46 per mile. This was the third week in a row of declining prices. With a 1.1% decrease, the weekly US Rocky Mountain bar fuel surcharge closed the week at $0.51 per mile.
This past week, the Chinese low price of 62% Australian iron ore fines kept quiet, holding at at CNY 970.00 ($157.94) per dry metric ton. US shredded scrap remained essentially flat from the previous week at $343.00 per short ton. Following a steady week, prices for Chinese H-beam steel closed flat at CNY 2,860 ($465.69) per metric ton. Prices for Chinese rebar remained constant, closing the week at CNY 3,040 ($495.00) per metric ton.
Chinese aluminum bar traded sideways last week, hovering around CNY 14,200 ($2,312) per metric ton. At EUR 2,496 ($3,131) per metric ton, the price of European 1050 aluminum did not change since the previous week.
The Construction MMI® collects and weights 9 metal price points used within the construction industry to provide a unique view into construction industry price trends. For more information on the Construction MMI®, how it’s calculated or how your company can use the index, please drop us a note at: info (at) agmetalminer (dot) com.