U.S. Economic News

January 17, 2018

U.S. Economic Indicators

The NAHB Housing Market Index edged down 2.0 points to 72.0 in January, but remains near record highs.  The outlook for the next six months remained solid, though builders still face increasing materials prices and shortages of labor and buildable lots.  NAHB Report
Industrial production jumped 0.9% in December (up 3.6% Y/Y), after contracting 0.1% (revised) in November. 
Capacity utilization also jumped 0.7 point to 77.9 in December.  Fed Report

U.S. News

The Financial Times reports that U.S. oil and gas producers are among the companies set to suffer the most under the recently-passed tax legislation due to restrictions on tax deductions for interest payments. Limits on the amount of interest that American firms can deduct from their tax bills will affect oil and gas producers because many of those firms took on large debt burdens when oil prices collapsed in mid-2014. FT

According to the Washington Post, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce is urging Congress and the White House to raise the federal gas tax by twenty-five cents in order to help fund an infrastructure bill. While advocates of the plan acknowledge that raising the federal gas tax for the first time since 1993 would be challenging in the current political environment, they say that the proposal could raise $375 billion over a decade and provide a solid foundation for an infrastructure-spending fund. WaPo

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