U.S. Economic News

U.S. Economic News

May 28, 2019

U.S. Economic Indicators

The Conference Board’s Consumer Confidence Index rose from 129.2 (revised) in April to 134.1 in May. Consumer Confidence continued to improve after rising in April, driven by employment gains and improved expectations for short-term business conditions. Conference Board Report

The FHFA House Price Index shows that U.S. house prices rose 0.1% in March and were up 4.9% from year-ago levels. Year-over-year house price changes were positive in all nine census divisions. FHFA Report

U.S. News

According to the Financial Times, a new report from the OECD found that U.S. imports from China have declined by 12.0% since the trade war began in the third quarter of 2018. The OECD figures show that U.S. imports from China experienced their largest recorded decline in the first quarter of this year, while the entire volume of global trade fell by an estimated 0.3%. FT

The Financial Times reports that the U.S.-China trade conflict is creating significant economic opportunities for Mexico-based manufacturers of products affected by the trade spat such as auto parts, electronics, and mobile phone components. The total value of Mexican exports to the U.S. recently overtook those from China, despite increased duties on many Mexican agricultural products. FT

U.S. Economic News

U.S. Economic News

May 24, 2019

U.S. Economic Indicators

New orders of manufactured durable goods fell 2.1% in April after rising 1.7% (revised) in March and are up 2.0% compared to a year ago. Excluding transportation, new orders were virtually unchanged (up 1.9% from last year). Census Bureau Report

U.S. Economic News

U.S. Economic News

May 23, 2019

U.S. Economic Indicators

Initial jobless claims decreased 1,000 to 211,000 last week. The four-week moving average fell 4,750 to 220,250. DOL Report

New home sales fell 6.9% to a seasonally adjusted annual pace of 673,000 in April, but are 7.0% above the April 2018 rate. The median sales price rose to $342,200 and the inventory of new homes rose to 5.9 months at the current sales rate. Census Bureau Report

U.S. News

The Wall Street Journal reports that minutes from the latest Fed policy meeting suggest officials are still comfortable with their wait-and-see approach and expect current weak inflation to be only temporary. The Fed downgraded its inflation forecast to just under its 2% target in the medium term, but Fed Chairman Jerome Powell pushed back against expectations that the Fed would cut rates in response. WSJ

According to Bloomberg, a new IMF study found that U.S. importers have borne almost all the cost of tariffs imposed on Chinese goods. Some of the tariffs have been passed on to U.S. consumers, while others have been absorbed by U.S. companies through lower profit margins. Bloomberg

U.S. Economic News

U.S. Economic News

May 22, 2019

U.S. News

According to the Financial Times, U.S. companies are facing increased retaliation in China as the trade dispute between China and the U.S. intensifies, leading many to consider cutting investment in China or relocating to other countries. In addition to tariffs, American companies report facing backlash in the form of slower customs clearance, more inspections, and delayed approval for licenses. FT

The Wall Street Journal reports that St. Louis Fed President James Bullard said the Fed may need to cut interest rates if inflation fails to rise back to desired levels. He also dismissed concerns of a domestic or global recession happening in the next year and China harming global markets by selling off its U.S. Treasury holdings. WSJ

The Washington Post reports that top administration officials and a group of bipartisan congressional leaders have begun talks aimed at reaching a two-year budget deal to suspend the debt ceiling ahead of the September 30 government shutdown deadline. Although discussions are at an early stage, they appear to aim for the most comprehensive budget package in recent years. WaPo

According to Bloomberg, the number of retirees receiving Social Security payments grew 3.0% last year, outpacing the 1.9% growth of the U.S workforce. Given the low birth rate, increasing number of retirees, and life expectancies in the mid-eighties, reserves set aside in the Social Security Trust Fund are expected to be exhausted by 2035. Bloomberg

U.S. Economic News

U.S. Economic News

May 21, 2019

U.S. Economic Indicators

Existing home sales edged down 0.4% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.19 million in April and are down 4.4% compared to a year ago. NAR notes that moderate growth is expected in the near term as buyers start to take advantage of historically low mortgage rates and solid wage growth. NAR Report

U.S. News

According to the Wall Street Journal, the OECD announced Tuesday that conflicts between the U.S. and its trade partners have weakened global business investment and threaten future global economic growth. The OECD estimates that, if continued, the latest round of U.S. tariff hikes and retaliatory Chinese levies would shrink the U.S. and Chinese economies by 0.2%-0.3% by 2021. WSJ

The Financial Times reports that Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell stated that although historically high debt burdens could severely strain businesses during a downturn, the current level of business debt is not a threat to overall financial stability. He expressed confidence that the financial system is strong enough to handle potential losses, tempering fears of an imminent corporate debt meltdown. FT