Friday April 28 2017
US Consumer Sentiment Revised Down In April
University of Michigan | Joana Ferreira | joana.ferreira@tradingeconomics.com

The University of Michigan's consumer sentiment for the United States came in at 97 in April 2017 compared with a preliminary reading of 98 but slightly higher than 96.9 in March, a final estimate showed. The gauge of future expectations increased slightly while the barometer for current economic conditions fell.

The gauge of future expectations increased slightly to 87 from a preliminary of 86.9 and from 86.5 in the previous month.Meanwhile, the barometer for current economic conditions fell to 112.7 from a preliminary of 115.2 and a final of 113.2 in March.

Americans expect the inflation rate to be 2.5 percent next year, the same as earlier reported and as in March. Over the next 5 years, inflation is expected to be 2.4 percent, unchanged from both the preliminary estimate and from March's expectation.

"Consumer sentiment continued to travel along the high plateau established following Trump's election, with only minor deviations from its five month average of 97.4. There was widespread agreement among consumers on their very positive assessments of the current state of the economy as well as widespread disagreement on future economic prospects. Although the partisan divide has slightly narrowed in recent months, it still reflects a very pessimistic economic outlook among Democrats and a very optimistic outlook among Republicans. The partisan divide on the Expectations Index was 51.0 points in April (61.4 vs. 112.4), down from last month's 63.1 (59.4 vs. 122.5), with Republicans moderating their optimism more than Democrats reduced their pessimism.", Surveys of Consumers chief economist, Richard Curtin noted.




Friday April 28 2017
US Q1 GDP Growth Weakest Since 2014
BEA | Joana Ferreira | joana.ferreira@tradingeconomics.com

The US economy grew an annualized 0.7 percent on quarter in the first quarter of 2017, following a 2.1 percent expansion in the previous period and below expectations of 1.1 percent, an advance estimate showed. The deceleration in real GDP in the first quarter reflected a deceleration in PCE and downturns in private inventory investment and in state and local government spending that were partly offset by an upturn in exports and accelerations in both nonresidential and residential fixed investment.

Personal consumption expenditure (PCE) contributed 0.23 percentage points to growth (2.40 percent in the previous quarter) and rose 0.3 percent (3.5 percent in the previous quarter). Spending fell for durable goods (-2.5 percent from 11.4 percent in Q4 2016) and slowed for both nondurable goods (1.5 percent from 3.3 percent) and services (0.4 percent from 2.4 percent).

Fixed investment added 0.69 percentage points to growth (1.47 percentage points in the previous quarter) and increased 4.3 percent, compared to a 9.4 percent expansion in the previous period. 

By contrast, private inventories subtracted 0.93 percentage points to growth, after contributing 1.01 percentage points in the previous period. 

Government spending and investment subtracted 0.30 percentage points to growth (0.03 percent in the previous period) and contracted 1.7 percent (0.2 percent in Q4).

Meanwhile, exports jumped 5.8 percent, reversing a 4.5 percent drop in the previous quarter and imports increased at a slower 4.1 percent (9 percent in Q4), bringing the impact from trade to 0.07 percent (-1.82 percent in the previous quarter). 





Thursday April 27 2017
US Durable Goods Orders Rise Less Than Estimated
US Census Bureau | Joana Taborda | joana.taborda@tradingeconomics.com

New orders for US manufactured durable goods went up 0.7 percent month-over-month in March of 2017, following an upwardly revised 2.3 percent jump in February and below expectations of a 1.2 percent rise.

Excluding transportation, new orders decreased 0.2 percent. Excluding defense, new orders increased 0.1 percent. Transportation equipment, also up three consecutive months, drove the increase, $2.0 billion or 2.4 percent to $83.3 billion.

Shipments of manufactured durable goods in March, up four of the last five months, increased $0.6 billion or 0.2 percent to $239.8 billion. This followed a 0.2 percent February increase. Transportation equipment, up following two consecutive monthly decreases, led the increase, $0.4 billion or 0.5 percent to $81.7 billion.

Unfilled orders for manufactured durable goods in March, up two consecutive months, increased $2.5 billion or 0.2 percent to $1,119.0 billion. This followed a 0.1 percent February increase. Transportation equipment, also up two consecutive months, led the increase, $1.6 billion or 0.2 percent to $755.5 billion. 

Inventories of manufactured durable goods in March, up four of the last five months, increased $0.5 billion or 0.1 percent to $385.7 billion. This followed a 0.2 percent February increase. Machinery, also up four of the last five months, led the increase, $0.4 billion or 0.6 percent to $66.7 billion.

Nondefense new orders for capital goods in March increased $0.9 billion or 1.2 percent to $75.0 billion. Shipments increased $0.9 billion or 1.3 percent to $73.0 billion. Unfilled orders increased $2.0 billion or 0.3 percent to $693.4 billion. Inventories increased $0.8 billion or 0.4 percent to $171.7 billion.

Defense new orders for capital goods in March increased $1.1 billion or 12.2 percent to $10.4 billion. Shipments decreased $0.5 billion or 4.0 percent to $10.9 billion. Unfilled orders decreased $0.6 billion or 0.4 percent to $137.3 billion. Inventories decreased $0.3 billion or 1.3 percent to $21.1 billion.




Thursday April 27 2017
US Jobless Claims Rise More Than Expected
DOL | Joana Ferreira | joana.ferreira@tradingeconomics.com

The number of Americans filing for unemployment benefits increased by 14 thousand to 257 thousand in the week ended April 22nd 2017 from the previous week's revised level of 243 thousand and above market expectations of 245 thousand.

Claims have now been below 300,000 for 112 straight weeks, the longest such stretch since 1970.

The 4-week moving average was 242,250, a decrease of 500 from the previous week's revised average. The previous week's average was revised down by 250 from 243,000 to 242,750.

The advance seasonally adjusted insured unemployment rate was 1.4 percent for the week ending April 15, unchanged from the previous week's unrevised rate. 

The continuing claims drawn by workers for more than a week (the advance number for seasonally adjusted insured unemployment) during the week ending April 15 was 1,988,000, an increase of 10,000 from the previous week's revised level. The previous week's level was revised down by 1,000 from 1,979,000 to 1,978,000. The 4-week moving average was 2,007,250, a decrease of 16,000 from the previous week's revised average. This is the lowest level for this average since June 10, 2000 when it was 2,006,000. The previous week's average was revised down by 250 from 2,023,500 to 2,023,250. 




Friday April 21 2017
US Factory Activity Growth Lowest in 7 Months
Markit | Joana Taborda | joana.taborda@tradingeconomics.com

The Markit US Manufacturing PMI fell to 52.8 in April of 2017 from 53.3 in March and well below market expectations of 53.5, flash figures showed. It is the lowest reading since September of 2016, indicating another slowdown in manufacturing growth from the near two-year high in January, mainly due slower expansion in output and new orders.

The main positive development was a slight rebound in manufacturing job creation from the seven-month low seen during March. 

Manufacturers were more cautious in terms of their pre-production inventories in April. The decline in stocks of inputs ended a six-month period of sustained inventory building. 

April data signalled a sharp and  accelerated rise in average cost burdens across the manufacturing sector. The rate of input cost inflation was the fastest since December 2013, which survey respondents linked to rising commodity prices (particularly metals). Meanwhile, pressure on margins from higher input costs contributed to the strongest increase in factory gate charges for almost two-and-a-half years.

Commenting on the flash PMI data, Chris Williamson, Chief Business Economist at IHS Markit said:

The PMI data suggest the US economy lost further momentum at the start of the second quarter. The surveys are signalling a GDP growth rate of 1.1% after 1.7% in the first quarter. “The vast services economy saw the weakest monthly expansion for seven months and the manufacturing sector showed signs of growth slowing further from the two-year high seen at the start of the year, despite export orders lifting higher. “The labour market also continued to soften. The surveys signalled a marked step-down in the pace of hiring in March which has continued into April. The latest survey data are consistent with only around 100,000 non-farm payroll growth. “The survey responses indicate that some froth has come off the economy since the post-election bounce seen at the end of last year. However, with inflows of new business picking up slightly in April and business optimism about the year ahead also brightening, there’s good reason to believe that growth could revive again in coming months.” 




Thursday April 20 2017
US Jobless Claims Rise More Than Expected
DOL | Joana Ferreira | joana.ferreira@tradingeconomics.com

The number of Americans filing for unemployment benefits increased by 10 thousand to 244 thousand in the week ended April 15th 2017 from the previous week's unrevised level of 234 thousand and above market expectations of 242 thousand.

Claims have now been below 300,000 for 111 straight weeks, the longest such stretch since 1970.

The 4-week moving average was 243,000, a decrease of 4,250 from the previous week's unrevised average of 247,250.

The advance seasonally adjusted insured unemployment rate was 1.4 percent for the week ending April 8, a decrease of 0.1 percentage point from the previous week's unrevised rate. 

The continuing claims drawn by workers for more than a week (the advance number for seasonally adjusted insured unemployment) during the week ending April 8 was 1,979,000, a decrease of 49,000 from the previous week's unrevised level of 2,028,000. This is the lowest level for insured unemployment since April 15, 2000 when it was 1,962,000. The 4-week moving average was 2,023,500, a decrease of 2,000 from the previous week's unrevised average of 2,025,500. This is the lowest level for this average since June 17, 2000 when it was 2,016,750.


Tuesday April 18 2017
US Industrial Production Rises As Utilities Output Rebounds
Federal Reserve | Joana Ferreira | joana.ferreira@tradingeconomics.com

US industrial production rose by 0.5 percent month-over-month in March 2017, following a 0.1 percent gain in February and matching market expectations. Utilities output jumped 8.6 percent, the largest gain on record, while manufacturing production fell 0.4 percent, missing consensus of a 0.1 percent gain.

Utilities output jumped 8.6 percent, the largest gain on record, recovering from a 5.8 percent drop in the previous month, as the demand for heating returned to seasonal norms after being suppressed by unusually warm weather in February. Also, mining output edged up 0.1 percent after rising by 2.9 percent in the previous month.

By contrast, manufacturing production fell 0.4 percent, following a 0.3 percent increase in February and missing expectations of a 0.1 percent gain, due to a large step-down in the production of motor vehicles and parts. Factory output aside from motor vehicles and parts moved down 0.2 percent.

Compared to the same month of 2016, industrial output rose 1.5 percent, as output rose for manufacturing (0.8 percent), utilities (4.6 percent) and mining (2.9 percent).

For the first quarter as a whole, industrial production rose at an annual rate of 1.5 percent.

Capacity utilization for the industrial sector increased 0.4 percentage point in March to 76.1 percent, a rate that is 3.8 percentage points below its long-run (1972–2016) average.




Tuesday April 18 2017
US Housing Starts Fall More Than Expected
U.S. Census Bureau | Joana Taborda | joana.taborda@tradingeconomics.com

Housing starts in the United States slumped 6.8 percent from the previous month to a seasonally adjusted annualized rate of 1215 thousand in March of 2017, following an upwardly revised 1303 thousand in the previous month and much worse than market expectations of a 3 percent drop. It is the lowest rate in four months, led by drops in the Midwest.

Single-family housing starts, the largest segment of the market shrank 6.2 percent to 821 thousand. In addition, the volatile multi-family segment declined 6.1 percent to 385 thousand. Starts slumped in the Midwest (-16.2 percent to 155 thousand), the West (-16 percent to 284 thousand) and the South (-2.9 percent to 645 thousand) but rose 12.9 percent in the Northeast (to 131 thousand). 

Building permits increased 3.6 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1260 thousand, more than market expectations of a 2.8 percent rise. Building permits for multi-family units jumped 18.3 percent to 401 thousand while single-family authorizations dropped 1.1 percent to 823 thousand. Permits went up in the West (16.7 percent to 315 thousand), the Northeast (15.5 percent to 134 thoudand) and the South (6 percent to 619 thousand) while fell 22 percent to 192 thousand in the Midwest.  





Friday April 14 2017
US Inflation Rate Down To 2.4% In March
BLS | Joana Taborda | joana.taborda@tradingeconomics.com

Consumer prices in the United States increased 2.4 percent year-on-year in March of 2017, lower than 2.7 percent in February and below market expectations of 2.6 percent. It is the lowest inflation rate in three months due to a slowdown in energy and services cost. On a monthly basis, consumer prices went down 0.3 percent, the first drop in 13 months.

Year-on-year, energy prices rose 10.9 percent, lower than 15.2 percent in February. In addition, prices of services less energy rose less (2.9 percent from 3.1 percent) and cost of used cars and trucks fell more (-4.7 percent from -4.3 percent). In contrast, inflation rose for transportation services (3.8 percent from 3.6 percent in February) and food (0.5 percent from a flat reading) and was steady for shelter (3.5 percent) and medical care (3.4 percent).
 
Annual core inflation, which excludes food and energy eased to 2 percent from 2.2 percent in the previous month. It is the lowest core inflation since November of 2015 and below market expectations of 2.3 percent.
 
On a monthly basis, the energy index declined 3.2 percent, with the gasoline index falling 6.2 percent, and other major energy component indexes decreasing as well. In addition, a drop in the index for wireless telephone services also had a downward pressure. The food index rose 0.3 percent, with the index for food at home increasing 0.5 percent, its largest gain since May 2014.
 
Excluding food and energy, consumer prices fell 0.1 percent, its first decline since January of 2010. The shelter index rose 0.1 percent, and the indexes for motor vehicle insurance, medical care, tobacco, airline fares, and alcoholic beverages also increased in March. These increases were more than offset by declines in several indexes, including those for wireless telephone services, used cars and trucks, new vehicles, and apparel.




Friday April 14 2017
US Retails Sales Drop 0.2% in March
Anna | anna@tradingeconomics.com

Retail sales in the United States decreased by 0.2 percent month-over-month in March 2017 after February figures were revised to a 0.3 percent drop which previously was reported as a 0.1 percent gain. The primary drivers of the decline were lower spending at auto dealerships and gas stations. It was the first consecutive two-month drop in more than two years.

Retail control-group sales, which are used to calculate GDP and exclude the categories of food services, auto dealers, building materials outlets and gasoline stations, rose 0.5 percent after falling 0.2 percent in February. 

Sales declined in six of 13 major retail categories in March. 

Purchases at auto dealers decreased 1.2 percent in March after a 1.5 percent drop. Receipts at gasoline service stations fell 1 percent in March after decling 0.3 percent in February.  Retail sales excluding autos were little changed for a second straight month.

Sales also declined at: building materials outlets  (-1.5 percent vs +2.6 percent in February); furniture stores (-0.3 percent vs +0.2 percent ); sporting goods, hobby, book and music stores (-0.8 percent vs +0.4 percent); food services and drinking places (-0.6 percent vs -0.3 percent)).

Purchases rose at: electronics and appliances stores (2.6 percent vs -1.9 percent)), food and bevereage stores (0.5 percent vs 0 percent), health and personal care stores (0.1 percent vs 0.9 percent), clothing and clothing accessories (1 percent vs -2.7 percent) and  general merchandise stores (0.3 percent vs -0.4 percent).