Banks and the Economy

Consumer Sentiment Remains Strong in October

Consumer Sentiment decreased 1.5 points in October to 98.6, according to the University of Michigan Consumer Sentiment Index. October’s figure is 2.1 percent below the October 2017 index. The Current Economic Conditions Index declined 1.8 points to 113.1. The reading was 2.9 percent below the October 2017 index. The Consumer Expectations Index fell 1.3 points to 89.3 and was 1.3 ...

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Third Quarter GDP Grew 3.5 percent

Real GDP grew at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 3.5 percent during the third quarter of 2018, according to the Bureau of Economic Analysis’s “advance” estimate, down from 4.2 percent in the second quarter. The growth in real GDP reflected positive contributions from personal consumption expenditures, inventories, nonresidential fixed investment, federal government spending, and state and local government spending ...

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Durable Goods Orders Rose 0.8 percent in September

New orders for manufactured durable goods increased 0.8 percent in September to $262.1 billion, following a 4.6 percent August increase, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Transportation equipment drove the increase, rising 1.9 percent to $97.4 billion over the month. New orders, excluding the transportation sector, rose 0.1 percent. Excluding defense, new orders decreased 0.6 percent. Shipments of manufactured durable ...

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Beige Book: Economic Activity Expanding, Tariffs a Concern

Economic activity expanded at a modest to moderate pace across the twelve Federal Reserve Districts in September through mid-October, according to the just-released Federal Reserve Beige Book. The report was based on information collected through October 15. The economic expansion over the period was driven in part by a continued growth of consumer spending at a modest pace. Manufacturing activity ...

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New Home Sales Fell 5.5 percent in September

New single-family home sales decreased to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 553,000 in September, according to the U.S. Census Bureau and the Department of Housing and Urban Development. The September level was 5.5 percent below the revised August rate of 585,000 and 13.2 percent below the September 2017 estimate. Sales decreased 40.6 percent in the Northeast, 1.5 percent in ...

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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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