US US industrial production fell 0.5% in April. A drop in utilities output offset an increase in mining. The real sore spot in the report, however, was the 0.5% drop in manufacturing output. Consistent with softness at the retail level, auto production fell 2.6%, but just as weak was production of machinery - an ominous [...]
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US The trade deficit widened slightly in March to $50.0 billion. Exports posted an increase for the third consecutive month, but imports jumped 1.1% after a measly gain in February and a drop in January. The widening does not look to be quite as large as the BEA estimated heading into the initial release of [...]
US The Fed’s policy-setting committee decided to make no change to official short-term interest rates, as was widely expected. Investors appeared to react negatively to Fed Chairman Jerome Powell’s post-meeting press conference, which was widely characterized as more hawkish than anticipated. Powell stated that the recent pattern of below-target inflation may prove “transitory” and that [...]
US US real GDP grew at an annualised rate of 3.2% in Q1 of 2019. The first quarter headline rate of growth was stronger than most analysts had expected, and it represents a pick-up in growth relative to Q4. But underlying details of economic growth were not quite as strong as the headline growth rate [...]
US US small business optimism was virtually unchanged in March. Despite the stock market having recovered from its end-of-year rough patch and the government shutdown now firmly in the rearview mirror, the index remains noticeably below the current cycle’s high reached in August. The lack of a rebound suggests that small businesses are feeling the [...]
US Recent data continue to suggest a softer first quarter in the US, but with the underlying fundamentals of the US economy generally solid at present, talk of an imminent recession may be a bit overdone. Absent some unforeseen shock, “talking” ourselves into a recession seems to be the most realistic way the US economy [...]
US Real GDP is expected to grow at a 1.4% annual rate during the quarter, largely due to the weakness in consumer spending and housing at the end of 2018 and at the start of this year. The federal government shutdown also negatively impacted Q1 growth, as did weaker global economic growth and lingering uncertainty [...]
US The two-day meeting of the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) was the focal point last week, concluding with a unanimous decision to keep the range of the federal funds rate unchanged between 2.25% and 2.50%. This decision was widely expected by financial markets, but the committee’s increased caution regarding the outlook reaffirmed its wait-and-see [...]
US US January retail sales report was released last week and it showed a bounce-back in consumer spending after what was the worst month for retailers since the Great Recession. Stripping away volatile components (food, autos, gas and building materials) the control group measure fared even worse in December, declining 2.3%, or the largest monthly [...]
US Last week’s Nonfarm payrolls came in well below expectations, as employers added just 20K new jobs in February after adding 311K in January. Through the volatility, the three-month average gain of 186K is still rather strong, but marks a moderation, consistent with an upward tick in jobless claims and more moderate survey evidence from [...]