FIRST LOOK - JANUARY 2018


TOP NEWS

National Miners Day Celebrated

Dec. 6 was National Miners Day, a day designated by Congress to honor the contributions and sacrifices of miners both past and present.

Cemex’s Balcones Quarry Hosts Quarry Academy

Cemex USA hosted dozens of aggregates industry experts at its Balcones Quarry in New Braunfels, Texas, to help highlight best practices to improve process efficiency.

Natural Resource Partners Aggregates Business Up

Natural Resource Partners L.P. reported third quarter 2017 net income of $26.1 million and net income attributable to the common unitholders and general partner of $18.4 million.


MSHA WATCH

The Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) issued a serious accident alert after a miner was injured while removing the teeth from an excavator bucket with a sledge hammer. The accident happened at a surface sand and gravel operation on Nov. 3, 2017. As the miner was striking one of the teeth, a small piece of metal sheared off the sledgehammer and struck the miner in the leg. MSHA recommends that producers examine the work place for all possible hazards and correct them before work; inspect hand tools before and after use; remove defective tools from service; follow the manufacturers’ recommended safe work procedures for the maintenance task and monitor work to ensure procedures are followed; and wear appropriate personal protective equipment while performing work.


USGS STATS

An estimated 656 million metric tons (Mt) of total construction aggregates was produced and shipped for consumption in the United States in the third quarter of 2017, a slight decrease compared with that of the third quarter of 2016, according to Jason Willett, crushed stone commodity specialist for the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS.) The estimated production for consumption in the first nine months of 2017 was 1.69 billion metric tons (Gt), a slight decrease compared with that of the same period of 2016.


ECONOMIC INDICATORS

At a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $650.5 billion, new construction starts in November dropped 12 percent from October, according to Dodge Data & Analytics. Highway and bridge construction also dropped 12 percent in November, retreating for the third month in a row.

Construction spending during October 2017 – the most current available at press time – was estimated at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $1,241.5 billion, 1.4 percent (±1.5 percent) above the revised September estimate of $1,224.6 billion, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

Nationwide housing starts rose 3.3 percent in November to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.297 million units after a downwardly revised October reading, according to newly released data from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Commerce Department.


ENERGY
  • WTI crude oil futures price: 12/19/2017: $57.46/barrel, up $0.32 from week earlier; up $5.34 from year earlier.
  • Natural gas futures price: 12/19/2017: $2.692/MMBtu, up $0.014 from week earlier; down $0.700 from year earlier.
  • Retail gas price: 12/18/2017: $2.450/gal., down $0.035 from week earlier; up $0.186 from year earlier.
  • Retail diesel price: 12/18/2017: $2.901/gal., down $0.009 from week earlier; up $0.374 from year earlier.
  • Weekly coal production: 12/9/2017: 15.532 million tons, down 0.163 million tons from week earlier; up 0.057 million tons from year earlier.

    Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration