Tight supply has continued to put upward pressure on metal prices in the US, all of which trended up in August according to the latest Manufacturing Purchase Managers Index (PMI) released by the Institute of Supply Management (ISM) on Thursday.
The PMI for prices of metals like aluminum, aluminum extrusions and products, copper-based products, cold-rolled steel, hot rolled steel, ferrous scrap, and stainless steel all moved up last month, ISM indicated, as demand for these continued to outpace supply.
Still, prices are showing some signs of tapering off with the overall manufacturing price PMI trending down by 6.3 percentage points to 79.4pc in August, making it the first month since December 2007 when the index has moved below the 80pc mark.
The manufacturing PMI climbed by 0.4 percentage points to 59.9pc in August against the previous month while the new orders PMI rose by 1.8 percentage points to 66.7pc. Labor shortages related to the rise in COVID-19 cases have also caused longer lead times for procuring raw materials in the manufacturing industry, according to Timothy R. Fiore, chair of the ISM Manufacturing Business Survey Committee.
Manufacturing production in the country increased last month, with the production PMI rising by 1.6 percentage points to 60pc. The PMI for new orders increased by 1.8 percentage points to 64.9pc while exports rose by 0.9 percentage points to 56.6pc. The imports PMI for the US fell by 0.6 percentage points to 54.3pc in August against July.
US construction spending up
In the meantime, the Census Bureau reported that US construction spending in January-July increased by 6.2pc to $883.2bn compared to $831.5bn in the same period last year.
In July, total spending increased by 9pc to $1.56bn against $1.44bn in the same month last year and was 0.3pc above the previous month.
Spending on residential construction in July to $782mn up 26.5pc from $618mn in July 2020 and by 0.5pc from $778mn in June 2021. During this period, nonresidential construction spending decreased by 4.2pc to $786mn from $821mn in July 2020 but ticked up by 0.1pc from $785mn in June 2021.