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Chief U.S. Economist Ian Shepherdson on U.S. Unemployment
We've had pushback from readers over our take on the likelihood of a trade deal with China in the near future.
The outlook for the French economy is changing on a daily basis these days.
German 10-year yields have been trading according to a simple rule of thumb since 2017, namely, anything around 0.6% has been a buy, and 0.2%, or below, has been a sell.
Yesterday's German industrial production data were poor, but better than we expected. Output fell 0.5% month-to-month in February, pushing annual growth down to 1.3% from a revised 1.8% in January. In addition, net revisions to the month-to-month data were a hefty -1.0%, but this is not enough to change the story of a Q1 rebound in industrial production.
The new fiscal year began on April 6, marking the post-election intensification of the fiscal squeeze for many households. The Office for Budget Responsibility estimates net tax and benefit changes will subtract 1.2 percentage points from year-over-year growth in households' disposable incomes in 2016.
The latest batch of FOMC speakers yesterday, together with the December minutes--participants said "the committee could afford to be patient about further policy firming"--offered nothing to challenge the idea, now firmly embedded in markets, that the next rate hike will come no sooner than June, if it comes at all.
Low-income households will feel the full force of the Covid-19 downturn and will have to slash their expenditure aggressively.
The Fed will do nothing today, but the FOMC's statement will re-affirm the intention to continue its "gradual" tightening.
The near-real-time economic data have been hard to read recently, because of distortions caused by the Labor Day holiday.
The Tankan survey powered ahead in Q2, pulling away from Q1 and mostly beating consensus. This confirms our impression of the strength of the recovery ,just as Prime Minister Abe's Liberal Democratic Party is trounced at the polls in Tokyo. The drubbing is understandable as the main benefits of Abenomics have gone to the business sector, at the expense of the household sector.
The account of BanRep's July meeting revealed a significant tug-of-war between the doves and hawks. The majority argued strongly that Colombia's central bank should hike the main interest rate again, by 25bp. Others judged that the benefits of further tightening did not outweigh the costs.
We're expecting to see another dip in initial claims for regular state unemployment benefits today, to about 850K, but that's only part of the story.
The deterioration of the Markit/CIPS manufacturing survey in November should temper optimism about the potential benefits of sterling's depreciation. The PMI fell to 53.4 in November, from 54.2 in October.
All policymaking is about trade-offs; very few government decisions confer only benefits. Someone, or more likely some group, loses. Monetary policy is no exception to the trade-off rule.
All the key measures of retail sales have returned to the trends in place before the Covid pandemic, thanks to the enhanced unemployment benefits paid to people who lost their jobs during lockdowns, and the one-time stimulus payments under the CARES Act.
The response of U.K. producers and consumers to lower oil prices could not have been more different to those on the other side of the Atlantic. Counter-intuitively, U.K. oil production has grown strongly over the last year, while investment hasn't collapsed to the same extent as in the U.S., yet. Meanwhile, U.K. households have thrown caution to the wind and already have spent the windfall from the previous drop in oil prices, unlike their more prudent--so far--U.S. counterparts. With the costs still to come but most of the benefits already enjoyed, lower oil prices will be neutral for 2016 U.K. GDP growth, at best.
We have revised up our third quarter GDP forecast to 25% from 15%, in the wake of last week's data. Consumers' spending is on course to rise by 36.6% if July's level of spending is maintained, though we're assuming a smaller 33% increase, on the grounds that the expiration of the enhanced unemployment benefits on July 31 will trigger a dip in spending for a time.
Today's trade figures likely will continue to show that the benefits from sterling's depreciation are being outweighed by the costs. Exports still are barely growing, but consumers are about to endure a substantial import price shock. The monthly trade deficit has been extremely volatile over the last year, generating a series of excessively upbeat or gloomy headlines. The truth is that the deficit has been on a slightly deteriorating trend, as our first chart shows. We think the trade deficit likely narrowed to £3.8B in December, from £4.2B in November, bringing it closer to its rolling 12-month average of £3.0B.
The speculation is over: 3.283 million people filed a new claim for unemployment benefits last week, nearly double the 1.7M consensus forecast, which looked much too low.
Chief U.S. Economist Ian Shepherdson on U.S. Unemployment
Chief US Economist Ian Shepherdson on today's Inital Jobless Claims data
Chief U.S. Economist Ian Shepherdson on the effect of Covid19 on the U.S. Economy
Chief U.S. Economist Ian Shepherdson on the record-breaking number of U.S. Unemployment Claims this week
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