U.S. Economic News

November 21, 2019

U.S. Economic Indicators

Existing home sales rose 1.9% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.46 million in October and are up 4.6% compared to a year ago. NAR attributes the rise in sales to low interest rates, continuing job expansion, and favorable mortgage rates. NAR Report

The Conference Board’s Leading Economic Index (“LEI”) declined 0.1 percent in October following a 0.2 percent (revised) decline in September. The LEI declined for the third month in a row due to continued manufacturing weakness and new softness in the labor market. Conference Board Report

Initial jobless claims were unchanged at 227,000 last week. The four-week moving average rose 3,500 to 221,000. DOL Report

U.S. News

The Financial Times reports that 2019 U.S. bond fund inflows are on track for one of their highest years on record as investors in search of yield rush to purchase corporate debt in an environment of very low interest rates. Fed officials warned at their latest rate-setting meeting about growing imbalances in the corporate debt market, noting that deteriorating credit quality and increased risk spreads could amplify the effects of an adverse shock to the economy. FT

According to the Wall Street Journal, President Trump’s decision to allow a November deadline for imposing tariffs on foreign auto imports to lapse without taking action has not removed the threat of potential tariffs. The lack of clear signals from the White House has puzzled auto executives and policymakers in Japan and the E.U., which together account for roughly a third of total U.S. auto imports. WSJ