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First Look - March 2015


TOP NEWS
Vulcan Materials Grows

Vulcan Materials Co. announced results for the fourth quarter ending Dec. 31, 2014, and full-year 2014. Total fourth-quarter revenues increased $75 million, or 11 percent, to $755 million, while gross profit increased $52 million, or 45 percent, to $170 million.

Martin Marietta Leaps Forward

Martin Marietta Materials Inc. reported its results for the fourth quarter and year ended Dec. 31, 2014. The company announced total fourth-quarter revenues of $856.3 million, aggregates revenues of $621 million and total 2014 revenues of $2.96 billion.

Aggregates Producers Go To Washington

On Feb. 10-11, the National Stone, Sand and Gravel Association organized a Waters of the U.S. fly-in, which took place in Washington, D.C. The effort is targeting members of Congress who are either on the bubble or are leaning against NSSGA’s supported position on this controversial issue.


MSHA WATCH

On Jan. 30, Assistant Secretary of Labor for Mine Safety and Health Joseph A. Main sent a letter to stakeholders in the metal and nonmetal mining community to announce heightened efforts to reduce fatalities. MSHA also held outreach conference calls with key stakeholders in the industry concerning the 37 deaths that have occurred since October 2013 and outlining best practices that could have prevented them.


USGS STATS

In 2014, total construction aggregates production rose to an estimated 2.171 billion metric tons (Gt), representing a total value of $19.8 billion, according to the U.S. Geological Survey’s Mineral Commodity Summaries 2015 report. The estimated production volume represents an increase over 2013 total production, which was a reported 2.027 Gt, according to USGS Crushed Stone Commodity Specialist Jason Willett.


ECONOMIC INDICATORS
  • The U.S. Census Bureau of the Department of Commerce reported that construction spending during December 2014 was estimated at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $982.1 billion, 0.4 percent (±1.3 percent) above the revised November estimate of $978.6 billion. The December figure is 2.2 percent (±1.6 percent) above the December 2013 estimate of $961.2 billion.
  • Nationwide housing starts fell 2 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.065 million units in January, according to newly released data from the U.S. Commerce Department. This slight drop was mainly due to a weather-related 22.2 percent decrease in the Midwest.
  • The falling cost of oil will not just impact consumers at the pump, but will lead to an impact on construction in the United States, according to Portland Cement Association Chief Economist and Group Vice President Edward J. Sullivan. He believes that short-term gains could be made in the housing market – but there could also be a negative impact if the downward trend continues.

ENERGY

WTI crude oil futures price: 2/17/2015: $53.53/bbl, up $3.51 from week earlier; down $46.77 from year earlier.

Natural gas futures price: 2/17/2015: $2.759/mmBtu, up $0.082 from week earlier; down $2.455 from year earlier.

Retail gasoline price: 2/16/2015: $2.274/gal., up $0.083 from week earlier; down $1.106 from year earlier.

Retail diesel price: 2/16/2015: $2.865/gal., up $0.030 from week earlier; down $1.124 from year earlier.

Weekly coal production: 2/7/2015: 18.088 million tons, down 2.013 million tons from week earlier; up 0.546 million tons from year earlier.

Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration