U.S. Economic News

U.S. Economic News

May 21, 2018

U.S. Economic Indicators

The Chicago Fed National Activity Index ticked up from +0.32 (revised) in March to +0.34 in April.  The production, sales, and employment components made positive contributions while the personal consumption & housing component contributed negatively. Chicago Fed Report

U.S. News

According to the Wall Street Journal, the U.S. has suspended its threat to impose tariffs on $150 billion of Chinese imports. Treasury Secretary Mnuchin said that the tariffs will be put on hold while the two countries negotiate a trade deal that would aim to reduce the bilateral trade deficit and ease investment restrictions in both countries. WSJ

The Wall Street Journal writes that major oil companies are embracing Latin America as the target for much of their investment in new wells. Latin America has become a profitable source of oil for many international firms, though the risk of political turmoil and resource nationalism has become problematic in some areas. WSJ

U.S. Economic News

U.S. Economic News

May 18, 2018

U.S. News

Eric Morath of the Wall Street Journal writes that a new study found that workers are most willing to relocate for high-tech jobs in large coastal cities such as San Francisco or New York. However, the bulk of open jobs in the U.S. are concentrated in the Midwest region, meaning this focus on technology jobs on the coasts could worsen labor shortages in an already-tight labor market. WSJ

The Wall Street Journal reports that in an effort to ease trade tensions with the U.S., China backed off an anti-dumping probe into imported U.S. sorghum. The end of the probe signals progress on a deal for China to lift recent tariffs on U.S. agricultural imports in exchange for eased U.S. sanctions on Chinese telecom firm ZTE, though hurdles remain. WSJ

U.S. Economic News

U.S. Economic News

May 17, 2018

U.S. Economic Indicators

Initial jobless claims rose 11,000 to 222,000 last week. The four-week moving average decreased 2,750 to 213,250.  DOL Report

U.S. News

According to the Wall Street Journal, Japan is examining ways to retaliate against the U.S. for recent steel tariffs. Officials have said that Japan may tell the World Trade Organization that it has the right to impose tariffs on U.S. goods equivalent to the damage it is suffering from the steel tariffs, an approach China has pursued. WSJ

Janet Adamy of the Wall Street Journal reports that the U.S. birthrate has dropped to a thirty-year low. Adamy writes that the severe lack of births could exacerbate the problems associated with an aging population, including having fewer wage-earners to pay into programs like Social Security and Medicare. WSJ

U.S. Economic News

U.S. Economic News

May 16, 2018

U.S. Economic Indicators

Privately-owned housing starts fell 3.7% in April to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.29 million (up 10.5% year-over-year). Housing permits declined 1.8% to a 1.35 million annual pace in April but are up 7.7% on the year.  Census Bureau Report

Industrial production rose 0.7% in April (up 3.5% Y/Y), after increasing 0.7% (revised) in March.  Capacity utilization rose 0.4 point to 78.0 in April.  Fed Report

U.S. News

The Wall Street Journal reports that President Trump’s goal of rewriting NAFTA in 2018 now appears unattainable after negotiators failed to reach a deal this week. House Speaker Paul Ryan had set this Thursday as an informal deadline for the negotiations, as legislative approval for any new agreement may be harder to obtain after July elections in Mexico and November elections in the U.S. WSJ

According to the Financial Times, U.S. ambassador to China Terry Branstad says that the U.S. and China are “still very far apart” on trade negotiations. Key sticking points include a timetable for when China will remove automobile tariffs and will open its domestic financial sector to foreign companies. FT

U.S. Economic News

U.S. Economic News

May 15, 2018

U.S. Economic Indicators

Retail sales rose 0.3% in April and were up 4.7% on the year.  Core sales — which excludes autos, gasoline, building materials, and food services — increased 0.4%. Census Bureau Report

Business inventories were unchanged in March but were up 3.8% from last year.  
Manufacturers’ sales increased 0.4% and were up 5.6% on the year. Census Bureau Report

The NAHB Housing Market Index edged up 2.0 points to 70.0 in May.  
Builder confidence was buoyed by stronger demand for single-family homes. NAHB Report 

U.S. News

The Wall Street Journal reports that the U.S. and China are discussing a deal that would give Chinese telecom firm ZTE relief from recent sanctions in return for the removal of Chinese tariffs on U.S. agricultural products. The negotiations, which come after the imposition of potentially-crippling sanctions on ZTE, could also include easing of Chinese roadblocks to U.S. tech firms operating in China. WSJ

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