Author Archives: Stephen Newton

Fed to Begin Reducing Balance Sheet in October

The Federal Open Market Committee said it will begin reducing the Fed’s balance sheet in October, according to a statement from the committee released yesterday. The balance sheet is swollen with $4.5 trillion in securities purchased as part of quantitative easing programs between 2008 and 2014. The committee also decided to hold rates at 1 to 1.25 percent, citing “realized ...

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Existing-Home Sales Drop 1.7% in August

Existing-home sales decreased 1.7% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.35 million in August, according to the National Association of Realtors (NAR). Sales were 0.2% above last August and the lowest since then. “Steady employment gains, slowly rising incomes and lower mortgage rates generated sustained buyer interest all summer long, but unfortunately, not more home sales,” said Lawrence Yun, ...

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Housing Starts Dip in August

Housing starts decreased to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.180 million in August, according to the U.S. Department of Commerce. The decline was 0.8% below the upwardly revised July rate of 1.190 million but is 1.4% below the August 2016 rate. Single-family home starts, however, grew 1.6% from last month. Housing activity increased in two of the four regions as the ...

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Industrial Production Slumps in August

Industrial production tumbled 0.9% in August after a 0.4% increase in July, according to the Federal Reserve. August represented the first decline in seven months. The release estimated Hurricane Harvey to be roughly responsible for a 0.75% reduction in total output. Manufacturing output fell 0.3% in August after a remaining unchanged in July. Production of durable goods increased 0.3%, but ...

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Retail Sales Dipped in August

There were $474.8 billion in retail and food service sales in August, down 0.2% from the previous month but up 3.2% from August 2016, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. July’s number was downwardly revised to reflect 0.3% growth. Core retail sales – excluding automobiles and parts – grew 0.2%. Year-over-year core sales increased 3.6%. Retail trade sales decreased 0.3% ...

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Consumer Prices Accelerated in August

The Consumer Price Index grew 0.4% in August on a seasonally adjusted basis, according to U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. This followed a 0.1% July increase. Much of August’s acceleration can be attributed to higher gasoline prices due to Hurricane Harvey. Over the last 12 months, the all-items index rose 1.9%. Prices for all items less food and energy, the ...

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Producer Prices Grew 0.2% in August

Producer prices increased 0.2% in August, seasonally adjusted, after declining 0.1% in July, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Producer prices rose 2.4% for the twelve months ended August 2017. The index for final demand goods advanced 0.5% in August, the largest increase since April. The index for final demand energy led the way, climbing 3.3%. Gasoline prices ...

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Small Business Optimism Remained Historically High in August

The NFIB Small Business Optimism Index ticked upwards to 105.3, its highest reading since February. August’s index was 0.1 point above July’s 105.2 reading. Four of the ten index components rose, while five declined. Twenty-seven percent of business owners surveyed said the next three months was a good time to expand, the highest reading in over twelve years. Reported job ...

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Consumer Credit Growth Accelerated in July

Consumer credit increased at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.9% in July, up from a downwardly revised 3.8% rate in June. Total outstanding credit increased $18.5 billion during the month (compared with $11.9 billion in June) to $3.75 trillion. Revolving credit, largely a reflection of credit card debt, grew at an annual rate of 3.2% to $1.0 trillion, compared ...

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Beige Book: Economic Activity Expanding at a Modest to Moderate Pace

Economic activity continued to expand at a modest to moderate pace across the twelve Federal Reserve Districts in June, according to the just-released Federal Reserve Beige Book. The report was based on information collected through August 28. Consumer spending increased in most Districts this period, particularly in nonauto retail sales and tourism. Reports in auto production were mixed, and many ...

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