Banks and the Economy

Existing-Home Sales Decreased in September

Existing-home sales decreased 3.4 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.15 million in September, according to the National Association of Realtors (NAR). This followed a 0.2 percent decline in August. Sales are 4.1 percent below the September 2017 level. Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, says rising interest rates have led to a decline in sales across all regions ...

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The Import of Exports

In an uncertain trade policy environment, agricultural lenders and producers prepare for difficult times on the farm.

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FOMC Minutes Signal Gradual Rate Hikes to Continue

The Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) determined that further gradual increases of the federal funds rate “would most likely be consistent with a sustained economic expansion, strong labor market conditions, and inflation near 2 percent over the medium term,” according to the minutes from the September 25-26 meeting. Officials agreed to remove the sentence in the postmeeting statement describing that ...

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Housing Starts Down 5.3 percent in September

Housing starts decreased to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.201 million in September, according to the U.S. Department of Commerce. The figure was 5.3 percent below the August rate of 1.268 million and 3.7 percent higher than the September 2017 rate. Single-family home starts fell 0.9 percent from last month. Multifamily decreased 12.9 percent since August and are up 4.5 percent ...

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Homebuilder Confidence Edges Up in October

The National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index rose to 68 in October, one point above September’s reading. “Builders are motivated by solid housing demand, fueled by a growing economy and a generational low for unemployment,” said NAHB Chairman Randy Noel, a custom home builder from LaPlace, La. “Builders are also relieved that lumber prices have declined for ...

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Industrial Production Rose 0.3 percent in September

Industrial production increased 0.3 percent in September after rising 0.4 percent increase in August, according to the Federal Reserve. Capacity utilization was 78.1 percent in September, a rate that is 1.7 points below its long-run average. Manufacturing output increased 0.2 percent after rising 0.3 percent last month. Production of durable goods increased 0.9 percent, while nondurable goods production were unchanged. ...

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Retail Sales Edged Up 0.1 Percent in September

There were $509.0 billion in retail and food service sales in September, up 0.1 percent from the previous month and 5.7 percent from September 2017, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. August’s revised figure was virtually unchanged. Core retail sales – excluding automobiles and parts – fell 0.1 percent. Year-over-year core sales increased 5.7 percent. Retail trade sales increased 0.4 ...

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Consumer Prices Rose Slightly in September

The Consumer Price Index rose 0.1 percent in September on a seasonally adjusted basis, according to U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. This followed a 0.2 percent August increase. Over the last 12 months, the all-items index rose 2.3 percent, down from last month’s 2.7 percent increase. Prices for all items less food and energy, the “core CPI,” grew 0.1 percent ...

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Producer Prices Rose in September

Producer prices increased 0.2 percent in September, seasonally adjusted, after decreasing 0.1 percent in August, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Producer prices rose 2.6 percent for the twelve months ended September 2018. The index for final demand goods decreased 0.1 percent in September, the first decrease since May 2017. The index for final demand energy fell 0.8 ...

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