Banks and the Economy

FOMC Minutes: Hike May be Appropriate ‘Fairly Soon’

Fed officials expressed that they could raise interest rates “fairly soon” as an improving economy and the possibility of faster than anticipated inflation could put the economy at risk of overheating, according to the minutes of the meeting released today. “Many participants expressed the view that it might be appropriate to raise the federal funds rate again fairly soon if ...

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Fed Makes Annual Adjustment to Asset Threshold for Dividend Cut

The Federal Reserve today made an annual inflation adjustment to the asset threshold in Regulation I that determines the dividend rate that certain member banks earn on Federal Reserve Bank stock, as required by the 2015 transportation spending bill. The threshold for 2017 is now set at $10.122 billion in assets.

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Existing-Home Sales Increased in January

Existing-home sales rose 3.3% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.69 million in January, according to the National Association of Realtors (NAR). The fast start to 2017 saw existing-home sales reach their strongest level since February 2007 (5.79 million). “Much of the country saw robust sales activity last month as strong hiring and improved consumer confidence at the end ...

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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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