ASA Insights
May. 24, 2012

ASA Members Take the Fight to the Hill
American Supply Association

On May 15-16, ASA members took advantage of the opportunity to "Take the Fight to the Hill" as the group conducted its annual Legislative Fly-In in Washington, D.C. Delegates had the opportunity to personally visit with elected officials from within their own districts in the House and Senate, and they discussed a variety of issues that concern them as small business owners and manufacturing and distribution executives. More

Tim Milford, CEO of Milford Supply, meets with Senator Roy Blount (R-MO)More

Size Matters For ASA Distributor Members
American Supply Association
American Supply Association distributor members continue to show differing results based on their revenues. Smaller distributors, under $10 million in annual revenue, are still in a recession. Larger distributors, at over $125 million in annual revenue, are well into recovery. In the past 36 months, smaller distributors are still over 9% below the trailing 12-month revenues while larger distributors are back to pre-recession levels. Overall, April 2012 per day revenue, as compared to 2011, was up 9.5%; up 18.0% as compared to 2010; up 17.5% as compared to 2009 but down 2.3% vs. a very strong 2008. The plumbing, heating and pipe, valve and fitting distributors are also up 8.8% on a trailing 12-month basis. Geographically, all regional monthly revenue showed positive near double-digit growth with the south and west showing the strongest gains. In a relatively new trend, the previously red hot industrial pipe, valve and fitting segment is now at approximately the same growth rate as the plumbing and heating segment.More

CBO: Recession in 2013 Unless Congress Acts on Fiscal Issues
The Hill
The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office said that unless lawmakers act to prevent scheduled tax increases and spending cuts at the end of the year, a recession will likely result in early 2013. Early next year, income taxes are set to go up when the Bush-era tax rates expire. Automatic spending cuts totaling roughly $109 billion triggered by last August's debt-ceiling deal are set to hit.More

Sales of New Homes Inch Up
CNNMoney
Sales of new homes are showing some signs of life, growing 3.3% month over month to an annualized rate of 343,000 in April, according to a government report released. Sales are still slow compared with the boom years when they reached a rate of close to 1.4 million, but the month's results were slightly better than expected.More

Copper Sinks to Multi-Month Lows On Greek Exit Fear
Reuters
Copper fell in London to a 4 1/2-month low and sank to a fresh 2012 trough in New York, hit hard by a frenzy of risk-averse selling tied to global growth concerns and worries about Greece's possible exit from the euro zone. Down nearly 3% on the day, copper led a broad-based decline across the base metals complex with both lead and zinc losing nearly 2% of their value and aluminium dipping below the psychological $2,000-per-tonne level for the first time since December.More

22 States Add Construction Jobs Between April 2011 and 2012
ForConstructionPros.com
Construction employment remained on a seesaw in April as only 19 states added jobs, 28 states and the District of Columbia had declines and three states maintained March employment levels, according to an analysis by the Associated General Contractors of America of Labor Department data.More

How to Play the US Manufacturing Rebound
Reuters via The Financial Post
If you were betting on a big rebound for any one sector this year, you probably would have put your money on banking instead of manufacturing. The more glamorous rebound story has been banking and the financial services sector, but with the revelation of a $2 billion trading loss at JP Morgan Chase & Co, it's clear some of the biggest banks may have not taken the lessons of 2008 seriously.More

Commodities: Mining Slump Feeds M&A as Projects Overrun Budgets
Bloomberg
The world's largest mining companies led by BHP Billiton Ltd. are struggling with higher costs to complete $200 billion in new projects, prompting them to slow work and turn instead to acquisitions and asset sales. BHP and Rio Tinto Group, ranking first and third by sales, said they'll ration capital spending because of escalating costs and a slower-than-expected global economy.More

Moving Manufacturing Back to US
The Motley Fool via DailyFinance
Like a stuffed diner at the end of a meal, overseas manufacturing has hit a tipping point. According to consulting firm Boston Consulting Group, manufacturing costs in Asia are rising. While some large manufacturers are already moving jobs back to the U.S., more American businesses soon will have to decide if staying overseas still makes financial sense.More