U.S. Economic News

U.S. Economic News

March 28, 2018

U.S. Economic Indicators

The National Association of Realtors pending home sales index rose 3.1% in February (down 4.1% Y/Y).  NAR says that the housing market is off to an uneven start in 2018, as robust demand for homes has been met with continued weakness in homes for sale.  NAR Report
 
The U.S. Census Bureau Advance Economic Indicators Report shows that the goods deficit widened to $75.4 billion in February from $75.3 billion in January.
Meanwhile, wholesale inventories rose 1.1% and retail inventories rose 0.4%. Census Bureau Report

The third estimate of Q4 GDP indicates that the U.S. economy expanded at an annualized rate of 2.9%, above the prior estimate of 2.5%. The reading reflects healthy consumer spending, business investment, residential investment, as well as strong contributions from government spending. BEA Report

U.S. News

The Wall Street Journal reports that Atlanta Fed President Raphael Bostic says that he supports plans to gradually raise interest rates but that fiscal policy may complicate the Fed’s actions. Bostic also said that the Fed may soon face a scenario in which the economy is growing faster than expected, which would likely cause the Fed to raise interest rates more quickly than expected. WSJ

U.S. Economic News

U.S. Economic News

March 27, 2018

U.S. Economic Indicators

The Conference Board’s Consumer Confidence Index decreased from 130.0 (revised) in February to 127.7 in March.  The decrease was driven by declines in both the Expectations Index and the Present Situation Index.  Conference Board Report

U.S. News

Kenneth R. Harney of the Washington Post writes that the supply of homes for sale in the U.S. has reached critically low levels. Many homeowners who want to sell their homes and move face the inability to find an affordable new home, rising mortgage rates, and competition from investors who wish to convert homes into rental units. WaPo

The Wall Street Journal reports that workers in Idaho lead the nation in earnings growth , as earnings expanded 5.3% over the course of 2017. Idaho’s unemployment rate remains at 3%, well below the national average of 4.1%, which has been forcing employers to offer higher wages and better benefits in order to attract or retain workers. WSJ

U.S. Economic News

U.S. Economic News

March 26, 2018

U.S. Economic Indicators

The Chicago Fed National Activity Index rose from +0.02 (revised) in January to +0.88 in February.  The production, sales, and employment components made positive contributions while the personal consumption & housing component contributed negatively. Chicago Fed Report

U.S. News

The Wall Street Journal reports that refinancings made up only 37% of mortgage originations in 2017 — down from 72% in 2012 and the lowest rate in over two decades. The sharp decline in refinancing activity has proved a drag on the U.S. housing market amid rising interest rates, as new mortgage originations have failed to make up for weak growth, resulting in a 12% overall decline in mortgage activity. WSJ

According to Richard Rubin of the Wall Street Journal, a new tax targeting overseas income earned by American technology and pharmaceutical firms may inadvertently fall on other industries operating in high-tax foreign locations. Rubin points to American railroad company Kansas City Southern, which expects to pay this tax, as an example of an unintended payer of the tax on foreign earnings due to certain quirks of the new tax code. WSJ

Nick Timiraos of the Wall Street Journal writes that San Francisco Fed President John Williams is set to become the President of the New York Federal Reserve Bank. Williams, who has a Ph.D. in economics and is responsible for key research on monetary policy, is seen as a complement to new FOMC chair Jerome Powell, who has extensive financial market experience but is not a traditional economist. WSJ

U.S. Economic News

U.S. Economic News

March 23, 2018

U.S. Economic Indicators

New orders of manufactured durable goods rose 3.1% in February after decreasing 3.5% (revised) in January, and are up 9.1% year-over-year.  Excluding transportation, new orders rose 1.2% (up 8.5% Y/Y).  Census Bureau Report
 
New home sales edged down 0.6% to a seasonally adjusted annual pace of 618,000 in February, but are 0.5% above the February 2017 rate.  
The median sales price rose to $326,800 and the inventory of new homes increased to 5.9 months at the current sales rate. Census Bureau Report

U.S. News

The Wall Street Journal reports that President Trump says he may veto the spending bill passed by Congress overnight, potentially leading to a government shutdown. The President says that the spending bill does not do enough for his proposed border wall and does not address the DACA program. WSJ

According to the Wall Street Journal, China has announced tariffs on $3 billion of U.S. imports just after President Trump announced a plan to raise tariffs on $60 billion of Chinese goods.  The Chinese Commerce Ministry says that their actions are in response to new U.S. tariffs on steel and aluminum that took effect on Friday amid sharp declines in stock markets around the world. WSJ

U.S. Economic News

U.S. Economic News

March 22, 2018

U.S. Economic Indicators

The FHFA House Price Index shows that U.S. house prices rose 0.8% in January and were up 7.3% from the same period last year.  House prices rose on an annual basis in all nine census divisions, with the largest gains coming in the Mountain division. Report
 
Initial jobless claims rose 3,000 to 229,000 last week.
The four-week moving average increased 2,250 to 223,750.  DOL Report

U.S. News

Greg Ip of the Wall Street Journal writes that in an effort to stave off inflation, the Federal Reserve will attempt to guide unemployment up over the next few years without causing a recession. The combination of tax cuts, increasing federal spending, and synchronized global growth could cause the U.S. economy to overheat, which would require more aggressive responses from the Fed that could easily drive the economy into a recession. WSJ

The Wall Street Journal reports that U.S. manufacturers are seeking exemptions from the new steel and aluminum tariffs. While certain industries have sought blanket exemptions, the Commerce Department says that exemptions would only be granted to specific companies or products, not trade groups or associations. WSJ

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