U.S. Economic News

U.S. Economic News

February 14, 2019

U.S. Economic Indicators

Retail sales dropped 1.2% in December — the largest drop since 2009 — but were up 2.3% on the year.  Core sales — which exclude autos, gasoline, building materials, and food services — plunged 1.7%. Census Bureau Report
 
Business inventories edged down 0.1% in November but were up 4.6% from last year.  
Manufacturers’ sales fell 0.6% but were up 4.4% on the year. Census Bureau Report
 
Initial jobless claims rose 4,000 to 239,000 last week. 
The four-week moving average rose 6,750 to 231,750. DOL Report

The headline Producer Price Index (“PPI”) for final demand eased 0.1% in January but is up 2.0% since January of last year. The core — which removes the volatile prices of food, energy, and trade services — rose 0.2% and is up 2.5% year-over-year. BLS Report

U.S. Economic News

U.S. Economic News

February 13, 2019

U.S. Economic Indicators

Consumer prices were unchanged in January (up 1.6% on the year). The “core” CPI, which excludes food and energy, increased 0.2% in January and is up 2.2% on the year.  BLS Report


U.S. News

The Financial Time reports that the number of U.S. borrowers more than 90 days delinquent on their auto loans rose to the highest level on record in late 2018. While the share of borrowers more than 90 days delinquent remains below peaks seen during the Great Recession, economists say this is a worrying development given the healthy labor market and relatively strong wage growth. FT
 
According to the Wall Street Journal, President Trump is expected to sign the bipartisan border-security deal lawmakers agreed to this week. Although administration officials have cautioned that no final decision has been made, many expect that the President will take the opportunity to avoid another government shutdown. WSJ

U.S. Economic News

U.S. Economic News

February 12, 2019

U.S. Economic Indicators

The NFIB Small Business Optimism Index declined 3.2 points to 101.2 in January, as seven of the components decreased and three improved. Expectations that the economy will improve dropped ten points. NFIB Report


U.S. News

The Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (“JOLTS”), a closely-watched measure of labor market health, indicated there were 7.3 million job openings at the end of December, an all-time high.  Hires edged up to 5.9 million while the quits rate remained at 2.3%.  BLS Report
 
Stephanie Yang of the Wall Street Journal writes that oil-demand weakness in Germany may be a greater threat to oil markets than demand weakness in China. German oil demand, which represents just 2% of global demand, declined on an annual basis for nine consecutive months in 2018 and could spread throughout the rest of Europe, further weakening demand for oil. WSJ
 
The Wall Street Journal reports that U.S. and Chinese negotiators are meeting again this week to develop a broad outline for a trade agreement. Officials meeting in Beijing will attempt to close the substantial gap between the two sides before the March 1st deadline that marks the end of the temporary ceasefire on new tariffs. WSJ

U.S. Economic News

U.S. Economic News

February 11, 2019

U.S. News

Andrew Ackerman of the Wall Street Journal reports that Federal Reserve governor Randal Quarles stated global regulators must revamp their process of assessing new threats to the financial system, as the financial sector evolves and post-crisis growth peaks. Quarles believes the Financial Stability Board, a panel of international policy makers that was established in 2009, must put more resources into identifying new vulnerabilities now that more than a decade has passed since the financial crisis and the board’s agenda is complete. WSJ

The Wall Street Journal reports that the U.K. economy experienced its weakest growth in six years during 2018 as businesses cut investment due to growing uncertainty about the way the country will leave the E.U. The U.K. is scheduled to leave the E.U. on March 29, but it is unclear whether it will have a transition period maintaining the status quo while a new agreement is negotiated, or will immediately shift to a new regime of tariffs dictated by the World Trade Organization. WSJ

U.S. Economic News

U.S. Economic News

February 8, 2019

U.S. News

The Wall Street Journal reports that St. Louis Federal Reserve President James Bullard stated the central bank does not need to raise rates any further to achieve its job and inflation goals. The Federal Open Market Committee voted last week to refrain from raising interest rates amid a slowing global economy and a lack of inflationary pressures. WSJ

According to a survey by the Wall Street Journal, economists say another government shutdown would dampen economic growth as well as business and consumer sentiment. According to one respondent, the negative impact on confidence would be larger than the drop in government spending and services. WSJ

The Financial Times reports that Donald Trump has ruled out a meeting with China President Xi Jinping before the March 1 deadline to reach a trade deal, thwarting hopes of an agreement to prevent further tariffs between the two nations next month. Robert Lighthizer and Steven Mnuchin are scheduled to visit Beijing next week for a new round of talks. FT

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