FIRST LOOK - FEBRUARY 2018


TOP NEWS

Vulcan to Complete Acquisition

Vulcan Materials Co. has reached an agreement with the Department of Justice (DOJ) that will allow it to complete its $900 million acquisition of Aggregates USA LLC. 

Shuster to Call It Quits

House Transportation Committee Chairman Bill Shuster (R-Pa.) announced that he’s stepping down at the end of his term. Shuster has long been an advocate for the aggregates industry and transportation issues.

Build the Wall

Fisher Sand & Gravel Co. (dba Fisher Industries) said a durable border protection system along the American-Mexican border of the United States can be built at an affordable cost, within a briefer timeframe and provide better protection.


MSHA WATCH

The Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) reported the 13th fatality for calendar year 2017 in metal and nonmetal mining. On Dec. 30, 2017, an employee in a pickup truck approached the quarry loadout area to get the front-end loader operator for lunch. The front-end loader operator backed into the pickup, pushing it sideways and crushing the driver’s side of the pickup cab, trapping the victim inside the truck. The pickup truck caught fire and efforts by the front-end loader operator and a nearby contractor to put the fire out using fire extinguishers were not successful. In 2016, there were 17 fatalities reported in metal and nonmetal mining. This was the sixth Powered Haulage fatality in 2017. There were four Powered Haulage fatalities in the same period in 2016.


USGS STATS

An estimated 387 million metric tons of crushed stone 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 1.01 billion metric tons, a slight decrease compared with that of the same period of 2016.


ECONOMIC INDICATORS

The newly enacted tax law will create a more favorable tax climate for the business community, which should spur job and economic growth and keep single-family housing production on a gradual upward trajectory in 2018, according to economists speaking at the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) International Builders’ Show in Orlando.

The U.S. Census Bureau announced that construction spending was estimated at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $1,257.0 billion, 0.8 percent (±1.2 percent) above the revised October 2017 estimate of $1,247.1 billion. The November 2017 figure is 2.4 percent (±1.5 percent) above the November 2016 estimate of $1,227.0 billion. 

The Dodge Momentum Index grew 3.6 percent in December to 153.9 (2000=100) from the revised November reading of 148.6. The Momentum Index is a monthly measure of the first (or initial) report for nonresidential building projects in planning, which have been shown to lead construction spending for nonresidential buildings by a full year.


ENERGY

  • WTI crude oil futures price: 1/17/2018: $63.97/barrel, up $0.40 from week earlier; up $11.49 from year earlier.
  • Diesel fuel prices: 1/15/2018: $3.028/gal., up $0.032 from week earlier; up $0.443 from year earlier.
  • Electric prices: 1/19/2018: Average price to industrial customers 10.82 cents/kilowatt hour; up from 10.55 cents/kilowatt hour a year earlier.
  • Natural Gas Futures Price: 1/17/2018: $3.232/MMBtu, up $0.326 from week earlier; down $0.180 from year earlier.
  • Propane Prices: 1/15/2018: $2.586/gal., up $0.36 from week earlier; up $0.26 from a year earlier.

    Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration