U.S. Economic News

U.S. Economic News

April 18, 2018

 

U.S. News

Greg Ip of the Wall Street Journal writes that recently-passed tax cuts are likely to widen the U.S. trade deficit. Ip points out that the corporate and individual cuts are expected to provide a short-term boost to spending, which should translate into higher demand for imported goods, widening the deficit. WSJ

According to Nick Timiraos of the Wall Street Journal, President Trump’s nomination for the vice chair of the Federal Reserve indicates a continuation of the status quo for interest rate hikes. Timiraos contends that Richard Clarida, Trump’s nomination for vice chair, is likely to support gradual interest rate hikes over the near term. WSJ

U.S. Economic News

U.S. Economic News

April 17, 2018

U.S. Economic Indicators

Privately-owned housing starts rose 1.9% in March to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.32 million (up 10.9% year-over-year). Housing permits increased 2.5% to a 1.35 million annual pace in March and are up 7.5% on the year.  Census Bureau Report

Industrial production rose 0.5% in March (up 4.3% Y/Y), after jumping 1.0% (revised) in February.  
Capacity utilization rose 0.3 point to 78.0 in March.  Fed Report

U.S. News

The Wall Street Journal reports that China has announced a new duty — which will take effect tomorrow — of 178.6% on imports of U.S. sorghum. The duty, a result of an anti-dumping investigation by Chinese authorities, is seen as preliminary and is a response to tariffs on Chinese solar panels and washing machines. WSJ
 
According to the Financial Times President Trump has nominated Richard Clarida to be vice-chair of the Federal Reserve and Michelle Bowman to be another board member. Clarida is a former Treasury Department official who has supported the view that low interest rates may be here to stay due to structural forces in the economy, while Bowman is a top bank regulator from Kansas. FT

U.S. Economic News

U.S. Economic News

April 16, 2018

U.S. Economic Indicators

Retail sales rose 0.6% in March and were up 4.5% on the year.  Core sales — which excludes autos, gasoline, building materials, and food services — rose 0.4%. Census Bureau Report
 
Business inventories rose 0.6% in February and were up 4.0% from last year.  
Manufacturers’ sales increased 0.2% and were up 6.1% on the year. Census Bureau Report
 
The NAHB Housing Market Index edged down 1.0 point to 69.0 in April, the fourth consecutive monthly decline.  
Builders remain optimistic due to robust demand, although significant supply-side constraints continue to limit building activity.  NAHB Report

The March Empire State Manufacturing Survey indicated that industrial activity in the New York region grew solidly, although the headline index declined 7 points to 15.8.  The new orders index fell to 9.0, the shipments index declined to 17.5, and the index for number of employees decreased to 6.0; meanwhile, hours worked rose sharply.  NY Fed Report

 

U.S. Economic News

U.S. Economic News

April 13, 2018

U.S. Economic Indicators

The University of Michigan Consumer Sentiment Index fell 3.6 points to 97.8 in the preliminary April reading, but is up 0.8 point on the year. The Index of Consumer Expectations edged down 2.0 points to 86.8, while the Current Economic Conditions Index dropped 6.2 points to 115.0. Report

U.S. News

The Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (“JOLTS”), a closely-watched measure of labor market health, indicated there were 6.1 million job openings at the end of February, down slightly from January.  Hires fell to 5.5 million while the quits rate was unchanged at 2.2%.  BLS Report

The Wall Street Journal reports that the White House plans to escalate trade pressures on China by implementing new tariffs and limiting Chinese technology investment in the U.S. President Trump has also reportedly directed top economic advisers to explore rejoining the Trans-Pacific Partnership (“TPP”), a trade agreement that the President withdrew from as one of his first official actions. WSJ

Michael S. Derby of the Wall Street Journal writes that Boston Fed President Eric Rosengren warns that recent tax cuts and spending increases are raising the risk that fiscal policy will be unhelpful in the event of another economic downturn. Rosengren said that the federal government will have little ability to further cut taxes or expand spending given the current forecasts of massive government deficits. WSJ

U.S. Economic News

U.S. Economic News

April 12, 2018

U.S. Economic Indicators

Initial jobless claims fell 9,000 to 233,000 last week. The four-week moving average rose 1,750 to 230,000.  DOL Report

U.S. News

The Wall Street Journal reports that Federal Reserve officials at their last meeting expressed greater confidence that inflation would accelerate to their 2% target in the coming year. Officials also said that recent tax cuts and increased government spending will cause the economy to “run hot” over the next few years, possibly requiring more rapid rate increases. WSJ

Bob Davis of the Wall Street Journal writes that a new study shows that China’s requirement for foreign firms to partner with domestic firms in order to operate in China is overwhelmingly beneficial to Chinese firms. The authors find that while these requirements may be onerous for foreign firms, the benefits associated with operating in the Chinese market generally outweigh the costs. WSJ

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