U.S. Economic News

U.S. Economic News

February 22, 2019

U.S. News

The Wall Street Journal reports that the Trump administration is relying on the Chinese leader’s special envoy, Liu He, to accept new restrictions that are controversial in Beijing. Critical steps still need to be taken, such as China producing a list of price-distorting subsidies to eliminate. WSJ

Sam Fleming reports for the Financial Times that Federal Reserve officials are rethinking their strategy for steering the U.S. economy as they grapple with unexpectedly tepid price growth. Shortfalls relative to the Fed’s 2.0 percent target have prompted officials to shelve plans for further rate hikes amid consumer expectations for inflation at its lowest levels in half a century over the coming five years. FT

U.S. Economic News

U.S. Economic News

February 21, 2019

U.S. Economic Indicators

Initial jobless claims fell 23,000 to 216,000 last week. The four-week moving average rose 4,000 to 235,750. DOL Report

New orders of manufactured durable goods rose 1.2% in December after rising 1.0% (revised) in November, and are up 8.1% year to date.  Excluding transportation, new orders edged up 0.1% (up 7.0% YTD).  Census Bureau Report

Existing home sales decreased 1.2% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.94 million in January, and are 8.5% below year-ago levels. NAR notes that existing home sales are likely to have reached a cyclical low, however moderating home prices, rising household income, and lower mortgage rates are expected to raise home sales. NAR Report

The Conference Board’s Leading Economic Index declined 0.1% to 111.3 in January. The slight decrease suggests economic growth may be peaking. Conference Board Report

U.S. News

Nick Timiraos of the Wall Street Journal reports that most Federal Reserve officials last month indicated they were ready to end the run off of the central bank’s $4 trillion balance sheet this year and believed an action plan should be released soon. The Fed began to shrink its balance sheet in 2018, and believed an announcement regarding a halt in that action would provide more certainty in the process of normalizing the Fed’s balance sheet. WSJ

U.S. Economic News

U.S. Economic News

February 20, 2019

U.S. News

The Wall Street Journal reports that President Trump has firmly indicated that the U.S. may not increase tariffs on Chinese goods on March 1, as scheduled. Trump and his advisors are considering a meeting with President Xi in the coming weeks, which would effectively act as the new deadline for a trade deal. WSJ

According to the Wall Street Journal, market participants are growing confident that the European Central Bank will soon attempt to boost the eurozone’s ailing economy by reinstituting its program of providing cheap long-term loans to the banking system. The eurozone’s slowing economy comes at a time when the central bank has already expended resources to boost growth, having ended its nearly $3 trillion bond buying program in December and lowering key interest rates into negative territory. WSJ

U.S. Economic News

U.S. Economic News

February 19, 2019

U.S. Economic Indicators

The NAHB Housing Market Index rose 4.0 points to 62.0 in February. All major components of the index posted gains for the second consecutive month, aided by lower interest rates, low unemployment, and rising consumer confidence. NAHB 

U.S. News

The Wall Street Journal reports that the Trump administration is racing to strike trade deals across the world, as trade negotiations with China resume this week and the administration pushes to pass the USMCA deal. President Trump’s ambitious agenda, which envisions remaking commercial ties across Asia, Europe, and North America, will cover about 40% of the global economy. WSJ

Paul Kiernan of the Wall Street Journal reports that Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland President Loretta Mester said she expects interest rates to rise slightly this year if the U.S. economy meets her expectation of solid performance. Mester, who is not a voting member of the Federal Open Market Committee this year, believes U.S. economic fundamentals remain sound and expects healthy growth in 2019. WSJ

U.S. Economic News

U.S. Economic News

February 15, 2019

U.S. Economic Indicators

The University of Michigan Consumer Sentiment Index rose 4.3 points to 95.5 in the preliminary February reading, but is down 4.2 points on the year. The Index of Consumer Expectations jumped 6.3 points to 86.2, while the Current Economic Conditions Index edged up 1.2 points to 110.0. Report
 
Industrial production dropped 0.6% in January (up 3.8% Y/Y), after increasing 0.1% (revised) in December.
Capacity utilization decreased 0.6 point to 78.2 in January.  Fed Report


U.S. News

The Wall Street Journal reports that Fed officials are nearing a plan to end the wind-down of their $4 trillion balance sheet. Various regional Federal Reserve Bank presidents have expressed support for ending the balance sheet runoff relatively soon, which would ensure that there is a substantial buffer of reserves in the banking system. WSJ

According to the Wall Street Journal, the Commerce Department is concluding its investigation into whether imported cars pose a national security threat and will submit findings to the President by Sunday. Consumers are expected to pay more for imported cars under the tariffs, but may also face higher prices for domestic vehicles if the tariffs fall on imported automobile components, as domestically-produced cars usually contain 40-50% foreign components. WSJ

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