U.S. Economic News

U.S. Economic News

October 10, 2019

U.S. Economic Indicators

Consumer prices were unchanged in September (up 1.7% from a year ago). The “core” CPI, which excludes food and energy, increased 0.1% in September and is up 2.4% from last year. BLS Report

Initial jobless claims fell 10,000 to 210,000 last week. The four-week moving average rose 1,000 to 213,750. DOL Report

U.S. News

According to the Wall Street Journal, mortgage rates aren’t falling nearly as fast as interest rates, with the gap between the average mortgage rate and 10-year Treasury yields at its highest level in over seven years. Although home sales have been lackluster, lenders have been able to avoid lowering mortgage rates amid borrowers’ strong demand for refinancing. WSJ

Bloomberg reports that the U.S. is considering including a previously-agreed currency pact with China as part of an interim deal aimed at avoiding next week’s tariff hike. The currency accord, which was originally agreed to before talks broke down in July, could help de-escalate trade tensions but is unlikely to have a significant impact on China’s exchange rate policy. Bloomberg

U.S. Economic News

U.S. Economic News

October 9, 2019

U.S. Economic Indicators

The Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (“JOLTS”), a closely-watched measure of labor market health, indicated there were 7.1 million job openings at the end of August, little changed from JulyHires edged down to 5.8 million, while the quits rate was essentially unchanged at 2.3 percent. BLS Report

U.S. News

According to the Financial Times, Chinese officials are offering to increase purchases of U.S. agricultural products in an attempt to reach an interim trade agreement similar to the limited agreement reached between the U.S. and Japan earlier this year. Both sides are looking for reasons to stave off the next round of tariff hikes scheduled for October 15 and to “reset” negotiations before a potential November meeting between President Trump and Chinese leader Xi Jinping. FT

The Wall Street Journal reports that the Federal Reserve is planning to increase its purchases of short-term Treasuries to prevent recurrence of recent cash shortages in short-term lending markets. Fed Chairman Jerome Powell emphasized that the central bank’s move to increase bank reserves is not quantitative easing as it is intended to help officials better control the benchmark federal funds rate and not to provide economic stimulus. WSJ

U.S. Economic News

U.S. Economic News

October 8, 2019

U.S. Economic Indicators

The NFIB Small Business Optimism Index fell 1.3 points to 101.8 in September as seven components eased and three were unchanged. Despite edging downward, the Index remains historically high and signals continued job creation, capital spending, and inventory investment. NFIB Report

The headline Producer Price Index (“PPI”) for final demand decreased 0.3% in September and was up 1.4% from September of last year. The core — which removes volatile prices of food, energy, and trade services — was unchanged in September and was up 1.7% from a year ago. BLS Report

U.S. News

The Financial Times reports that the U.S. has added 28 Chinese technology groups to the entity list which will require U.S. suppliers to obtain a special license to continue selling to them, citing the Chinese organizations’ involvement in human rights abuses against Uighurs and other minorities in Xinjiang. While the Chinese foreign ministry has publicly criticized the U.S. decision, trade talks between the U.S. and China are set to resume this week as planned. FT

The Wall Street Journal reports that Fed Chairman Jerome Powell emphasized the importance of an independent U.S. central bank while discussing the legacy of 1930s Fed leader Marriner Eccles earlier this week. Powell’s remarks come amid unprecedented political pressure on the Fed to lower rates to stimulate economic activity. WSJ

U.S. Economic News

U.S. Economic News

October 7, 2019

U.S. News

Bloomberg reports that Chinese officials are signaling increasing reluctance to agree to a broad trade deal during this week’s round of trade talks, indicating that they are unwilling to discuss Chinese industrial policy reform or government subsidies. With key U.S. demands taken off the table, hopes for a comprehensive trade deal in the near term remain muted. Bloomberg

According to the Wall Street Journal, Kansas City Fed leader Esther George says she isn’t concerned about low inflation levels, which she views as part of normal, temporary fluctuations that do not warrant a policy response. Although George dissented against both quarter-point rate cuts earlier this year, she indicated that future policy adjustments may be necessary if data clearly point to a “broadly weaker economy.” WSJ

U.S. Economic News

U.S. Economic News

October 4, 2019

U.S. Economic Indicators

The U.S. economy added 136,000 jobs in September, below expectations. The unemployment fell to 3.5%, the labor force participation rate was unchanged at 63.2%, and average hourly earnings annual growth declined to 2.9%. BLS Report

The U.S. trade deficit increased from $54.0 billion in July to $54.9 billion in August. The goods deficit rose by $0.8 billion while the services surplus fell by $0.1 billion. Census Bureau Report

U.S. News

According to the Wall Street Journal, the Fed is expected to vote next week to ease liquidity and capital rules for large U.S. banks, lowering regulatory costs for regional lenders with under $700 billion in assets. The move represents the latest in a series of changes intended to soften the impact of regulations imposed under the Dodd-Frank law. WSJ