U.S. Economic News

U.S. Economic News

August 17, 2018

U.S. Economic Indicators

The University of Michigan Consumer Sentiment Index fell 2.6 points to 95.3 in the preliminary August reading, and is down 1.5 points on the year. The Index of Consumer Expectations was unchanged at 87.3, while the Current Economic Conditions Index dropped 6.6 points to 107.8. Report

U.S. News

The Wall Street Journal reports that trade tensions between the U.S. and China threaten to disrupt American liquefied natural gas (“LNG”) exports to China. If the U.S. and China are unable to come to an agreement that avoids tariffs on LNG, other exporters, such as Qatar and Australia, may claim more market share in China, which could lead to reduced investment in U.S. LNG infrastructure. WSJ

According to the Wall Street Journal, President Trump says that he is in “no rush” to renegotiate NAFTA. The comment came as Mexican trade negotiators arrived in Washington to discuss new NAFTA rules for the auto industry and revised labor standards. WSJ

U.S. Economic News

U.S. Economic News

August 16, 2018

U.S. Economic Indicators

Privately-owned housing starts edged up 0.9% in July to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.17 million (down 1.4% year-over-year). Housing permits rose 1.5% to a 1.31 million annual pace in July and are up 4.2% on the year.  Census Bureau Report

Initial jobless claims declined 2,000 to 212,000 last week. The four-week moving average increased 1,000 to 215,500.  DOL Report

U.S. News

The Financial Times reports that China will send a delegation to the U.S. at the end of August for trade negotiations. The delegation noticeably lacks China’s top trade officials, indicating Chinese doubt in the ability of American officials to reach a binding deal. FT

According to the Financial Times, even though China has imposed tariffs on imports of soybeans, Chinese companies have no choice but to purchase American soybeans at the higher price. The U.S. accounts for about a third of Chinese soybean consumption, and there are no other countries in the northern hemisphere that are able to step in at short notice to fill that gap, causing China to resume soybean imports earlier than expected. FT

U.S. Economic News

U.S. Economic News

August 15, 2018

U.S. Economic Indicators

Retail sales rose 0.5% in July and were up 6.4% on the year. Core sales — which excludes autos, gasoline, building materials, and food services — also rose 0.5%. Census Bureau Report
 
Business inventories inched up 0.1% in June and were up 4.0% from last year. 
Manufacturers’ sales increased 1.0% and were up 8.4% on the year. Census Bureau Report
 
The NAHB Housing Market Index declined 1.0 point to 67.0 in August.
Builder confidence remained high due to solid demand for new homes. NAHB Report 

Industrial production edged up 0.1% in July (up 4.2% Y/Y), after increasing 1.0% (revised) in June. Capacity utilization was unchanged at 78.1 in July.  Fed Report

Nonfarm business sector labor productivity increased 2.9% in Q2 and was up 1.3% on the year. Hours worked increased 1.9% in Q2 while unit labor costs fell 0.9%. BLS Report

U.S. Economic News

U.S. Economic News

August 14, 2018

U.S. Economic Indicators

The NFIB Small Business Optimism Index edged up 0.7 point to 107.9 in July and remains near all-time highs, as six of the components rose, two fell, and two remained unchanged. The share of small business owners who are planning to hire in the next few months rose to an all-time high.  NFIB Report

U.S. News

According to the Wall Street Journal, new research from the New York Fed finds that higher tariffs on imported goods are unlikely to affect the U.S. trade deficit because domestic businesses will face higher input costs. The researchers find that U.S. producers will be adversely affected by tariffs even before trading partners impose retaliatory measures, which will only worsen the input-cost effects. WSJ

Mike Bird of the Wall Street Journal writes that sharp declines in the Turkish lira and Indian rupee have risen the specter of emerging-market contagion. Bird points out that cross-border dollar-denominated loans to emerging markets total nearly $2.5 trillion, roughly double the level from a decade ago and a sign that emerging markets may be unable to service outstanding debt if investors continue to withdraw funds. WSJ

U.S. Economic News

U.S. Economic News

August 13, 2018

U.S. News

Michelle Hackman of the Wall Street Journal writes that vocational training programs are making a comeback in American high schools as employers struggle to hire enough workers in the face of an increasingly tight labor market. Firms have begun partnering with local high schools to establish training programs in order to fill job openings in key occupations such as welders, pharmacy technicians, and high-tech manufacturing. WSJ

The Wall Street Journal reports that the recent, ongoing collapse of the Turkish lira has begun to drag down other emerging market currencies. Analysts say that rising U.S. interest rates have already made investors nervous about emerging markets such as South Africa and Indonesia, which have substantial levels of foreign-currency-denominated debt . WSJ

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