ASA Insights
Dec. 20, 2012

Steady November for ASA Members
American Supply Association
November 2012 shows steady growth of revenues for American Supply Association members as they finished up 5.4% as compared to the same month in 2011, 13.5% as compared to 2010, up 31.9% as compared to 2009 and up 33.6% as compared to 2008. The plumbing, heating and pipe, valve and fitting distributors are up 7.3% YTD and 7.7% on a rolling 12-month basis. Geographically, California and the western U.S. lead the nation reporting 16.8% growth, with Texas at +8.4% and everyone else at approximately +3.3%. Nationally, the industrial PVF sector continued its strength in November, also reporting a national increase double that the rate of the plumbing segment.More

The 'Fiscal Cliff' Offers: Dueling White House, GOP Perspectives
The Washington Post
There are some tentative signs that President Barack Obama and House Speaker John Boehner might reach a deal that would blunt the impact of the so-called "fiscal cliff." But, as always in these Washington negotiations, a lot depends on whether the two sides actually agree on the bottom-line numbers.More

House GOP, White House Inching Closer; Plan B to be Voted On
American Supply Association
As we all know, the clock is ticking on measures to be taken regarding the "fiscal cliff." Our elected officials may likely be back in Washington on Dec. 26. As the legend says, Thomas Jefferson once suggested to George Washington, "The Senate is the saucer into which we pour legislation to cool." The reality is just about anything can pass the House of Representatives as all that is required is 218 votes. Today, the Speaker is finding it hard to get to 218. The Senate requires 60 votes, thus forcing both sides to make significant sacrifices to ensure passage. Prior to the weekend and leading up to Christmas, the House is scheduled to vote on its Plan B, hoping for the Senate to do the same. Any changes made will require further negotiating between the two bodies. According to the House Ways and Means Committee, here's what the House "Plan B" bill does — and doesn't — do.More

ASA Holiday Office Hours
American Supply Association
The staff of the American Supply Association would like to wish all of our industry friends a safe and happy holiday season! In recognition of the holidays, ASA headquarters will be closed Monday, Dec. 24; Tuesday, Dec. 25; and Tuesday, Jan. 1.
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Forecast 2013: US Economy
Industrial Distribution
The U.S. economy — and its future — was one of the most hotly debated topics in this year's presidential election. Regardless of which side of the political spectrum you land on, there is no denying or escaping the fact that most everyone in America with access to a news source is holding their breath in anticipation. Sadly, this anticipation is not for the Christmas holiday next Tuesday or the New Year celebrations to follow, but the resolution of the looming "fiscal cliff" that has economists, businesses, and individuals waiting for the first pin to drop and break the silence of uncertainty.More

Strike Looms at East and Gulf Coast Ports
The Associated Press Manufacturing.net
Weeks after a critical West Coast port complex was crippled by a few hundred striking workers, the East Coast is bracing for a possible walkout numbering thousands that could close 14 ports from Massachusetts to Texas. The latest talks between shipping companies and dockworkers broke down Tuesday, less than two weeks before the contract expires Dec. 29, leading to worries a strike was inevitable. The National Retail Federation wrote to President Barack Obama this week to ask him to use "all means necessary" to head off a strike, which they fear could have catastrophic ripple effects nationwide.More

Housing Starts in November Up 21% Year-Over-Year
Modern Distribution Management
Privately owned housing starts in November were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 861,000, 3% below October and 21.6% above November 2011, according to the U.S. Census Bureau and the Department of Housing and Urban Development. Single-family housing starts in November were at a rate of 565,000; this is 4.1% below the revised October figure of 589,000. The November rate for units in buildings with five units or more was 285,000.More

Morris Beschloss: Aggressive New Administration Policies Endanger 'Small Business' Survival
The Desert News
Whatever is finally adjudicated in the confrontational negotiations of the "fiscal cliff," it's a sure bet that America's independent businesses (erroneously referred to as small business) will come out on the short end of final White House/Congressional determinations. It's not exaggeration to re-emphasize the fact that two-thirds of America's 140 million potential employees actively are working for such entities, whether manufacturers, distributors, contractors, retailers, or professional organizations.More

Copper Slips on Uncertain Demand Outlook
Reuters via Fox Business
Copper slipped Wednesday due to uncertainty about the outlook for demand, furthered by a fall in the number of U.S. house building projects being started in November, while investors continued to watch U.S. budget talks closely. Analysts said physical demand remained sluggish for the metal used in power and construction as the year draws to a close, keeping prices in a tight range. "As we approach the end of the year, there is some book-squaring activity going on, and people have been taking profits, so copper has drifted lower," said Andrey Kryuchenkov, an analyst at VTB.More