FIRST LOOK - FEBRUARY 2017


TOP NEWS

Vulcan Acquisition

Vulcan Materials Co. signed an asset purchase agreement to acquire Lebanon, Tenn.-based LoJac Holdings Corp.’s asphalt, construction, safety and Monterey operations.

Summit Acquisition

Summit Materials Inc. entered into definitive agreements to acquire Colorado-based Everist Materials LLC and Arkansas-based Razorback Concrete Co., subject to customary closing conditions.

LafargeHolcim Innovation

Airium, an innovative new product from LafargeHolcim, is a mineral-based insulating foam that improves energy efficiency for buildings, according to the company.


MSHA WATCH

The Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) announced federal inspectors issued 132 citations and two orders during special impact inspections conducted at 10 coal mines and five metal and nonmetal mines in December 2016. The agency hit a Lafarge Building Materials Inc. plant in New York especially hard, with 32 citations. Fairmont Santrol’s Wedron Silica Co. plant in Illinois was issued nine citations. A New Enterprise Stone and Lime Co. operation in Pennsylvania had two citations, while a Simpson Sand & Gravel plant in Washington was issued one order.


USGS STATS

An estimated 397 million metric tons of crushed stone was produced and shipped for consumption in the United States in the third quarter of 2016, a decrease of 3 percent compared with that of the third quarter of 2015. The estimated production for consumption in the first nine months of 2016 was 1.05 billion metric tons, an increase of 6 percent compared with that of the same period of 2015, according to Jason Willett, crushed stone commodity specialist for the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS).


ECONOMIC INDICATORS

The U.S. Census Bureau of the Department of Commerce reported that construction spending during November 2016 was estimated at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $1,18 billion, 0.9 percent (±1.5 percent) above the revised estimate of $1,171.4 billion. The November figure is 4.1 percent (±2.0 percent) above the November 2015 estimate of $1,135.5 billion.

New construction starts in December slipped 5 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $613.0 billion, according to Dodge Data & Analytics. The latest month’s decline for total construction was due to sharply reduced activity for the nonbuilding construction sector. Highways and bridges were down 10 percent.

The Dodge Momentum Index increased 2.9 percent in December to 136.7 (2000=100) from its revised November reading of 132.8. After trending upward over the course of 2016, the Momentum Index is now at an eight-year high, although still more than 25 percent below its previous peak reached at the end of 2007.


ENERGY

  • retail gas price: 1/23/2017: $2.326/gal.; down $0.032 from week earlier, up $0.470 from year earlier.
  • retail diesel: 1/23/2017: $2.569/gal., down $0.016 from week earlier; up $0.498 from year earlier.
  • wti crude oil futures price: 1/20/2017: $52.42/barrels, up $0.05 from week earlier; up $22.89 from year earlier.
  • natural gas futures price: 1/20/2017: $3.204/MMBtu, down $0.215 from week earlier; up $1.066 from year earlier.
  • Weekly coal production: 1/14/2017: 15.716 million tons, up 1.940 million tons from week earlier; up 1.851 million tons from year earlier.

    Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration