U.S. Economic News

September 19, 2017

U.S. Economic Indicators

Privately-owned housing starts fell 0.8% in August to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.18 million (up 1.4% year-over-year). Housing permits rose 5.7% to a 1.30 million annual pace in August and are up 8.3% on the year.  Census Bureau Report

U.S. News

The New York Times reports that U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said that it is unclear whether the U.S., Canada, and Mexico could reach an agreement to overhaul the North American Free Trade Agreement (“NAFTA”). Negotiators say that redesigned NAFTA would need to be largely finished by the end of this year, as looming elections in all three countries are likely to stall talks. NYT

According to The Wall Street Journal, Senate Republicans are considering a budget that would allow for up to $1.5 trillion in tax cuts over the next decade.  If passed, the budget would let Republicans avoid eliminating certain tax breaks to pay for the cuts. WSJ

Nick Timiraos of the Wall Street Journal writes that while the Federal Reserve is set to announce the unwinding of its massive balance sheet, it is unclear what the target size of its portfolio is.  The Fed has maintained a balance sheet of roughly $4.5 trillion since the recent financial crisis, and even after paring back, experts expect the final size of the Fed’s portfolio to be well above the pre-crisis levels due to how the Fed makes changes to short-term interest rates. WSJ

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