U.S. Economic News

August 23, 2017

U.S. Economic Indicators

New home sales plunged 9.4% to a seasonally adjusted annual pace of 571,000 in July, and are 8.9% below the July 2016 rate.  The median sales price rose to $313,700 and the inventory of new homes climbed to 5.8 months at the current sales rate. Census Bureau Report

U.S. News

According to the Wall Street Journal, the U.S. and South Korea completed talks on the Korea-U.S. free trade agreement without resolution. The U.S. administration sought to reduce its trade deficit in goods with South Korea, while South Korea argued that its deficit in services trade with the U.S. demonstrates the mutual gains from the existing agreement. WSJ

The Wall Street Journal reports that banks are taking on a record level of assets that will not mature or change rates for more than five years, signaling expectations of low interest rates for an extended period of time. While holding these far-dated assets may not be problematic now, banks may suffer losses if long-term interest rates rise substantially or consumers’ creditworthiness begins to deteriorate. WSJ

Richard Rubin of the Wall Street Journal writes that large U.S. companies are reaching out to employees and customers to promote the benefits of corporate tax reform. While firms and lawmakers have been unable to agree upon a comprehensive tax reform plan as of yet, they continue to highlight the benefits of a lower corporate tax rate, which could spur investment and create new jobs. WSJ

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