U.S. Economic News

U.S. Economic News

December 14, 2018

U.S. Economic Indicators

Retail sales rose 0.2% in November and were up 4.2% on the year.  Core sales — which excludes autos, gasoline, building materials, and food services — increased 0.9%. Census Bureau Report
 
Business inventories were up 0.6% in October and were up 5.
1% from last year.  Manufacturers’ sales edged down 0.1% but were up 8.3% on the year. Census Bureau Report
 
Industrial production
rose 0.6% in November (up 3.9% Y/Y), after decreasing 0.2% (revised) in October.  Capacity utilization edged up 0.4 point to 78.5 in November.  Fed Report

U.S. News

A survey from the Wall Street Journal finds that most economists view a trade war between the U.S. and China as the biggest economic threat in 2019. Economists also identified financial market disruptions and a slowdown in business investment as concerns for next year. WSJ

Tom Hancock at the Financial Times reports that China will reduce tariffs on imported automobiles from the U.S. for three months starting January 1. China will cut tariffs on American-made cars from 40 to 15 percent in accordance with the agreement reached between Xi Jinping and Donald Trump in Argentina. FT

U.S. Economic News

U.S. Economic News

December 13, 2018

U.S. Economic Indicators

Initial jobless claims fell 27,000 to 206,000 last week. The four-week moving average decreased 3,750 to 224,750.  DOL Report

U.S. News

The Wall Street Journal reports that commodities prices will end the year with declines, with oil falling 15% and lumber 28% in 2018. These price declines are driven by growth fears, trade tensions, and a strong dollar. WSJ

According to the Financial Times, Chinese companies have resumed importing U.S. soybeans for the first time in months. Soybeans, one of the largest U.S. exports to China before the beginning of the current trade conflict, were targeted with tariffs that had caused shipments to fall to nearly zero. FT

Kate Davidson of the Wall Street Journal writes that in a new survey economists have scaled back their forecasts for interest-rate hikes in 2019. While almost every economist surveyed expects a rate increase in December of this year, the median forecast for 2019 was two total rate hikes, down from expectations of three just last month. WSJ

U.S. Economic News

U.S. Economic News

December 12, 2018

U.S. Economic Indicators

Consumer prices remained unchanged in November (up 2.2% on the year).  The “core” CPI, which excludes food and energy, increased 0.2% in November and is up 2.2% on the year.  BLS Report

U.S. News

The Wall Street Journal reports that in a move to ease trade tensions with the U.S., China plans to replace its “Made in China 2025” industrial policy with a new policy that promises greater access for foreign companies. Chinese officials are drafting the replacement for the Made in China 2025 plan, which had previously sought to make China a pioneer in high tech industries at the expense of foreign firms. WSJ

John Reed of the Financial Times reports that a new U.N. report forecasts that the U.S.-China trade war will slow Asia-Pacific trade in 2019. The trade war is expected to cut Asia-Pacific export growth to 2.3% from around 4.0% in 2018 and could lower global GDP by $400 billion in 2019. FT

U.S. Economic News

U.S. Economic News

December 11, 2018

U.S. Economic Indicators

The NFIB Small Business Optimism Index fell 2.6 points to 104.8 in November but remains near all-time highs, as eight of the components declined and two remained unchanged. Expected Business Conditions plunged 11 percentage points to 22%, the lowest reading since November 2016. NFIB Report

The headline Producer Price Index (“PPI”) for final demand inched up 0.1% in November and is up 2.5% since November of last year. The core — which removes the volatile prices of food, energy, and trade services — rose 0.3% and is up 2.8% year-over-year. BLS Report

U.S. News

According the Wall Street Journal, the U.S. and China began the latest round of trade talks with a phone call between Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, and Chinese Vice Premier Liu He. The three discussed Chinese purchases of agricultural products and China’s general economic policies despite tensions over the arrest of a key Chinese business executive in Canada. WSJ

U.S. Economic News

U.S. Economic News

December 10, 2018

U.S. News

The Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (“JOLTS”), a closely-watched measure of labor market health, indicated there were 7.1 million job openings at the end of October, a slight increase from September.  Hires edged up to 5.9 million while the quits rate eased slightly to 2.3%.  BLS Report

The Wall Street Journal reports that oil prices experienced their worst month in a decade in November, falling over 30% from multiyear highs. While some analysts believe the price slip indicates a slowing economy, lower retail gasoline prices can be a boon to American consumers. WSJ

Laurence Norman of the Wall Street Journal reports that the U.K. government can unilaterally reverse its decision to leave the European Union without approval of its EU peers, according to a European Court of Justice ruling.  The Court’s decision makes it more likely that Theresa May’s Brexit deal she negotiated with the EU will lose the parliamentary vote on Tuesday, potentially throwing the process into further disarray. WSJ

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