Banks and the Economy

Household Debt Jumps to End 2016

Outstanding household debt increased by a robust 1.8 percent in the final quarter of 2016, rising by $226 billion to $12.58 trillion, the Federal Reserve Bank of New York said today.

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Housing Starts Fell in January

Housing starts fell to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.246 million in January, 2.6% below the revised December rate of 1.279 million, but 10.5% above the January 2016 rate. Housing activity increased in two out of the four regions. The Northeast and the South saw housing starts jump 55.4% and 20.0%, respectively. The West and the Midwest, however, experienced ...

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FHFA: HARP Refinances Decline as Rates Climb

More than 750,000 borrowers refinanced their Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac mortgage loans in the fourth quarter, with 13,220 refinanced through the Home Affordable Refinance Program, the Federal Housing Finance Agency said yesterday. HARP refinances dropped by 2,000 since the prior quarter. Seven percent of third-quarter loans refinanced through HARP had a loan-to-value ratio greater than 125 percent. In Nevada, ...

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CPI Increased 0.6% in January

The Consumer Price Index increased 0.6% in January on a seasonally adjusted basis. Over the last 12 months, the all-items index rose 2.5%. Prices for all items less food and energy, the “core CPI,” increased 0.3% in January, a slight uptick from December. The index rose 2.3% for the 12 months ending in January. The food index increased 0.1% after ...

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Retail Sales Rose in January

There were $472.1 billion in retail and food service sales in January, up 0.4% from the previous month and 5.6% from January 2016, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Core retail sales – excluding automobiles and parts – increased 0.8% after rising by 0.4% in December. Year-over-year core sales increased 5.3%. Retail trade sales increased 0.2% from December and are ...

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Industrial Production Decreased in January

Industrial production fell 0.3% in January after increasing 0.6% in December. Over the last year, industrial production was unchanged. Manufacturing output increased 0.2% in January, the same increase as December. Production of durable goods fell, while nondurables rose 0.6% during the month. Capacity utilization for manufacturing increased by 0.1 percentage point to 75.1%, a rate that is 3.3 percentage points ...

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Builder Confidence Declined in February

The National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index fell to 65 in February, a 2 point decrease from January’s reading of 67. “While builders remain optimistic, we are seeing the numbers settling back into a normal range,” said NAHB Chairman Granger MacDonald, a home builder and developer from Kerrville, Texas. “Regulatory burdens remain a major challenge to our ...

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Producer Prices Increased 0.6% in January

Producer prices rose 0.6% in January, seasonally adjusted, after climbing 0.2% in December, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Producer prices rose 1.6% for the twelve months ended January 2017. The index for final demand goods rose 1.0% in January, the largest jump since May 2015. The increase was led by a 4.7% rise in the index for ...

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