U.S. Economic Indicators

Retail sales rose 0.4% in August and are up 4.1% from a year ago. Core sales — which exclude autos, gasoline, building materials, and food services —  increased 0.3%. Census Bureau Report

Business inventories increased 0.4% in July and were up 4.8% from July of last year. Manufacturers’ sales declined 0.2% in July but were up 0.5% compared to a year ago. Census Bureau Report

The University of Michigan Consumer Sentiment Index rose 2.2 points to 92.0 in the preliminary September reading but is down 8.1 points from September of last year. The Index of Consumer Expectations rose 2.5 points to 82.4, while the Current Economic Conditions Index rose 1.6 points to 106.9. University of Michigan

U.S. News

Kate Davidson reports for the Wall Street Journal that the U.S. federal budget gap widened to more than $1 trillion in the first 11 months of the current fiscal year, the first time the year-to-date deficit has topped that amount since 2012. A strong U.S. economy typically leads to narrower deficits, but higher government spending and lower revenue collection following the 2017 tax cuts have pushed the deficit up 19% since October of last year. WSJ

The Financial Times reports that China has announced it will exempt certain U.S. pork and soybean purchases from additional tariffs in the latest of a series of goodwill gestures intended to reduce trade tensions. The total amount of agricultural products Chinese companies intend to purchase under the new arrangement is still unclear, but the announcement represents an opportunity for U.S. pork farmers who have been left out of the recent surge in pork imports into China. FT