Rock Products

FEB 2019

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www.rockproducts.com ROCK products • February 2019 • 1 FIRST LOOK Infrastructure Talk Reuters reported that 20 high-ranking Trump administration officials met with the president to discuss a potential infrastructure plan. According to reporters David Shepardson and Alexandra Alper, "the administration is considering a 13-year program but has not settled on key issues, including whether it will propose new ways to pay for increased spending." TOP NEWS Who has the Worst Roads? Lvl5, a company that creates HD maps for self-driving cars, released a list of states with the best and worst road quality. The company captured and analyzed five million miles of driving on U.S. roads and found that Michigan has the worst roads in the country while Florida has the best. Sullivan Predicts At World of Concrete in Las Vegas, Ed Sullivan, executive vice president and chief economist for the Portland Cement Association, predicted cement production increases of 2.6 percent,1.6 percent, 0.8 percent, 1.8 percent and 2.1 percent from 2019 to 2023. He is predicting construction- spending increases of 2.2 percent, 1.5 percent, 0.9 percent, 1.1 percent and 1.3 percent from 2019 to 2023. MSHA WATCH During a recent quarterly stakeholder call, the Mine Safety and Health Administration announced a new "Fire Suppression Safety Initiative" (FSS) to ensure that fire suppression systems on mobile equipment are in working order and capable of extinguishing equipment fires. The initiative appears to involve educating operators about FSS, including proper inspections and maintenance, as well as stepping up related enforcement, according to Avi Meyerstein of Husch Blackwell's Technology, Manufacturing & Transportation team. An estimated 405 Mt of crushed stone was produced and shipped for consumption in the United States in the third quarter of 2018, an increase of 4 percent compared with that of the third quarter of 2017. The estimated production for consumption in the first nine months of 2018 was 1.05 Gt, an increase of 3 percent compared with that of the same period of 2017, according to Jason Willett, crushed stone commodity specialist for the U.S. Geological Survey. USGS STATS New construction starts in December fell 10 percent to a sea- sonally adjusted annual rate of $708.9 billion, continuing to retreat after November's 7 percent slide, according to Dodge Data & Analytics. The Dodge Momentum Index fell 4.9 percent in December to 151.9 (2000=100) from the revised November reading of 159.7. The Momentum Index, issued by Dodge Data & An- alytics, 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 build- ings by a full year. Construction costs declined in December but remained el- evated compared to year-earlier prices, while prices of new buildings also moved higher, according to an analysis by the Associated General Contractors of America of new Labor Department data. Association officials noted that the cost of many construction projects is increasing as firms cope with labor shortages and increased costs for many of the materials they need for projects. ECONOMIC INDICATORS ENERGY RETAIL GASOLINE PRICE 1/21/2019: $2.251/gal., up $0.004 from week earlier; down $0.316 from year earlier. RETAIL DIESEL PRICE 1/21/2019: $2.965/gal., down $0.011 from week earlier; down $0.060 from year earlier. WTI CRUDE OIL FUTURES PRICE 1/18/2019: $53.80/barrel, up $2.21 from week earlier; down $10.15 from year earlier. NATURAL GAS FUTURES PRICE 1/18/2019: $3.482/MMBtu, up $0.383 from week earlier; up $0.293 from year earlier. ELECTRICITY 10/20/2018: Average price to industrial customers 6.91 cents/kilowatt hour; same as a year earlier. Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration

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