U.S. Economic News

January 16, 2019

U.S. Economic Indicators

The NAHB Housing Market Index rose 2.0 points to 58.0 in January, up from its two-year low in December. All the major components of the index posted gains this month, aided by falling mortgage rates, low unemployment, and solid job growth. NAHB Report

U.S. News

Nick Timiraos of the Wall Street Journal reports that Kansas City Fed president Ester George, one of the most hawkish members of the Fed, stated that the Federal Reserve ought to refrain from more interest rate hikes while it studies the effects of the policy normalization enacted to-date. George maintains that the pause in normalization is necessary to ensure monetary policy is not leading to an economic downturn and an undershooting of the Fed’s inflation target. WSJ

The Wall Street Journal reports that threats of a full-blown global trade war and rising political tensions between major world powers are the dominant global risks, according to a report by the World Economic Forum. The report also cites cyberattacks and climate change as potential hazards to global growth. WSJ

According to the Financial Times, the U.S. government shutdown has triggered ripple effects across the U.S. economy and risks hurting the confidence among companies already concerned about the trade war and stock market turbulence. Historically, government shutdowns have temporary economic effects, but Fed Chairman Jerome Powell has warned that a shutdown of this length could begin to have negative consequences. FT

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