ASA Insights
Sep. 20, 2012

Last Chance to OWN IT!
American Supply Association
NetworkASA 2012 in Orlando, Fla., is now less than one month away. If you have not already done so, there is still time to register for the event. There are also a very limited number of rooms left, and Sept. 24 is the cutoff date to make hotel reservations. Please click here for all details and contact Ruth Mitchell at 630-467-0000, ext. 210, with any questions. We look forward to seeing you in Orlando!More

NAW Report: Despite Uncertainty, Most Distributors Seeing Steady Growth
Modern Distribution Management
Middle-market distributors are growing, but that growth and the optimism that accompanies it is tempered by a number of factors including weakness in Europe, rising commodity prices, continued housing crisis, and uncertainties connected with the upcoming election and policy issues, including health care. These are the findings from a newly released Distribution Monitor report, sponsored by the NAW Institute for Distribution Excellence and McGladrey, a provider of assurance, tax and consulting services. The NAW Institute is the research arm of the National Association of Wholesaler-Distributors.More

Home Resales at Two-Year High, Housing Recovery Advances
Reuters
The pace of home resales rose in August to its fastest in over two years and groundbreaking on new homes also climbed, hopeful signs that a budding housing market recovery is gaining traction. The National Association of Realtors said existing home sales increased 7.8% last month to an annual rate of 4.82 million units last month. That was the fastest annual rate since May 2010 and well above analysts' expectations of a 4.55 million-unit rate. While the broader U.S. economy appears to be losing steam, housing has gained traction and has become a relative bright spot.More

Industrial Production Falls 1.2% in August
Federal Reserve Board
Industrial production fell 1.2% in August after having risen 0.5% in July. Hurricane Isaac restrained output in the Gulf Coast region at the end of August, reducing the rate of change in total industrial production by an estimated 0.3 percentage point. Manufacturing output decreased 0.7% in August after having risen 0.4% in both June and July. Precautionary shutdowns of oil and gas rigs in the Gulf of Mexico in advance of the hurricane contributed to a drop of 1.8% in the output of mines for August.More

Manufacturing Trade Deficit Hits Record High
Material Handling & Logistics
The government's newest monthly trade figures show that the U.S. manufacturing trade deficit has hit an all-time high — $63.93 billion for July 2012 — according to U.S. Business and Industry Council calculations. The previous record for the deficit, a key measure of the nation's manufacturing competitiveness, was October 2006's $61.04 billion. Although 4.7% lower than the new record, that deficit was set when the economy was growing at a much stronger rate.More

Tax Credit in Doubt, Wind Power Industry is Withering
The New York Times
Last month, Gamesa, a major maker of components for wind turbines, completed the first significant order of its latest invention: a camper-size box that can capture the energy of slow winds, potentially opening up new parts of the country to wind power. But by the time the last of the devices, worth more than $1.25 million, was hitched to a rail car, Gamesa had all but shut down its factory here and furloughed 92 of the workers who made them.More

Factory, Jobless Claims Reports Signal Weakness
Reuters
Manufacturing closed out its weakest quarter in three years this month and the number of Americans filing new claims for jobless benefits held near two-month highs last week, suggesting the economic recovery is failing to gain traction. Other reports suggested the economy's weakness could prove protracted, with factory activity in the Mid-Atlantic contracting for a fifth straight month in September and a measure of future economic activity dipping in August.More

Investment Projects Boost Imported Iron Ore Prices
Xinhua via China Daily
The prices of imported iron ore at 25 major ports in China increased during the week ending Sept. 17 from the previous week, boosted by a slew of infrastructure projects in China and a new round of quantitative easing by the United States, according to an iron ore price report released by the Xinhua News Agency.More

BHP: Sharp Rise in Commodities Won't be Repeated
MarketWatch
Commodity prices aren't likely to repeat the sharp gains seen in recent years because global production rapidly is stepping up to meet demand, a top BHP Billiton Ltd. executive said. The possible exception is in the copper market, where big supply shortages remain, Alberto Calderon, chief executive of BHP's aluminum and nickel and corporate development divisions said at a conference.More