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18 August. 2015 Can the Fed Hike if the Empire State Survey is Right? (Publication Centre)

Just how weak would the manufacturing sector have to be in order to persuade the Fed to hold fire this fall, assuming the labor market numbers continue to improve steadily? The question is germane in the wake of the startlingly terrible August Empire State manufacturing survey, which suggested that conditions for manufacturers in New York are deteriorating at the fastest rate since June 2009.

15 September. 2016 Will September's Regional Surveys Follow the ISM's Drop? (Publication Centre)

Today's huge wall of data will add significantly to our understanding of third quarter economic growth, with new information on consumers' spending, industrial activity, inflation and business sentiment. In light of the unexpected drop in the ISM surveys in August, we are very keen to see the Empire State and Philly Fed surveys for September.

17 October 2017 Manufacturing Sector set for Modest Post-Hurricane Rebound? (Publication Centre)

The first October survey evidence from the industrial economy, in the form of the Empire State report, is remarkably strong.

20 September 2018 Business Surveys Wobbling in the Face of Higher Rates (Publication Centre)

In the wake of the unexpectedly weak September Empire State survey, released Monday, we are now very keen to see what today's Philadelphia Fed survey has to say.

16 Dec. 2014 - Industrial rebound continues, despite the plunging Empire State (Publication Centre)

You'd have to be very brave to take the weakness of yesterday's Empire State survey more seriously than the strong official industrial report published 45 minutes later. The hard data showed industrial production up 1.3% month-to-month, and only two tenths of that gain was explained by the cold weather, which drove up utility energy output.

18 July 2017 Will Foreign Trade be a Drag on Second Quarter GDP Growth? (Publication Centre)

Markets usually ignore the monthly import price data, presumably because they are far removed, especially at the headline level, from the consumer price numbers the Fed targets.

18 January 2018 Housing Starts Likely Dipped Last Month, but the Trend is Rising (Publication Centre)

Hot on the heels of yesterday's news that the NAHB index of homebuilders' sentiment and activity dropped by two points this month -- albeit from December's 18-year high -- we expect to learn today that housing starts fell last month.

18 May 2017 Political Uncertainty is set to Plague Markets for Many Months (Publication Centre)

The turmoil in Washington has begun to hit markets. We don't know how this will end, but we do know that it isn't going away quickly.

18 September 2018 Chainstore Sales Growth has Jumped Thank the Tax Cuts (Publication Centre)

The first estimate of retail sales growth in August was weaker than implied by the Redbook chainstore sales survey, but our first chart shows that the difference between the numbers was well within the usual margin of error.

18 August. 2016 What are the Chances of 4%-plus Growth in the Third Quarter? (Publication Centre)

The latest model-based third quarter GDP forecast from the Atlanta Fed is 3.6%, well above the 2.5% consensus forecast reported by Bloomberg. We are profoundly skeptical of so-called "tracking models" of GDP growth, because they are based mostly on forecasts and assumptions until very close to the actual GDP release.

19 January 2017 Core Inflation Pressure Building Slowly, Headline to Jump Further (Publication Centre)

The solid numbers for December mean that core inflation remains on track to breach 2?-?% this year, though probably not until the summer. Over the next few months, base effects will help to hold the core rate close to the December pace.

18 May 2018 Second Quarter Growth Started Strongly, but a Long Way to go (Publication Centre)

The half-way point of the quarter is not, alas, the half-way point of the data flow for the quarter.

17 January 2017 December Data Understates Core Retail Sales (Publication Centre)

On the face of it, the December core retail sales numbers were something of a damp squib. The headline numbers were lifted by an incentive-driven jump in auto sales and the rise in gas prices, but our measure of core sales--stripping out autos, gas and food--was dead flat. One soft month doesn't prove anything, and core sales rose at a 3.9% annualized rate in the fourth quarter as a whole.

17 August. 2015 Should We Worry About Two Straight Outsized Core PPI Gains? (Publication Centre)

The back-to-back 0.3% increases in the core PPI in June and July represent the biggest two-month gain since mid-2013, so we now have to be on the alert for the August report, which will be released September 11, a week before the FOMC meeting. A third straight outsized gain--the trend before June's jump was only about 0.05% per month, and the year-over-year rate is still only 0.6%--would suggest something real is stirring in the numbers, rather than just noise.

16 October 2017 Don't Rule Out a Hurricane-Induced Jump in the Core CPI (Publication Centre)

The September core CPI was held down by prescription drug prices, which fell by 0.6%, and vehicle prices, which fell by 0.4%.

17 Feb. 2015 Falling Goods Prices Do Not Signal Broader U.S. Deflation Risk (Publication Centre)

Last week's import price data, showing prices excluding fuels and food fell in January for the fourth month, support our view that the goods component of the CPI is set to drop sharply this year.

19 July 2018 Housing Investment Likely Dipped in Q2 it's the Only Point of Weakness (Publication Centre)

We can't finalize our forecast for residential investment in the second quarter until we see the June home sales reports, due next week, but in the wake of yesterday's housing starts numbers we can be pretty sure that our estimate will be a bit below zero.

17 January 2018 Severe Weather Likely Depressed Homebuilders' Sentiment (Publication Centre)

At the end of last year, U.S. homebuilders were more optimistic than at any time in the previous 18 years, according to the monthly NAHB survey.

17 July 2017 September Rate Hike Odds Have Fallen, but it's not Over Yet (Publication Centre)

After four straight sub-consensus core CPI readings, we think the odds now favor reversion to the prior trend, 0.2%, over the next few months.

21 October. 2016 Government Spending Higher Next Year? (Publication Centre)

It has become pretty clear over the past couple of weeks that Hillary Clinton will be the next president, so it's now worth thinking about how fiscal policy will evolve over the next couple of years.

3 December 2018 Tariff Deferment Shows Both Sides Want a Deal, but it Will Take Time (Publication Centre)

The agreement between Presidents Trump and Xi at the G20 is a deferment of disaster rather than a fundamental rebuilding of the trading relationship between the U.S. and China.

29 Apr. 2016 Weak Q1 Growth Won't Persist - Better Data Coming, Soon (Publication Centre)

The astonishing 86% annualized plunge in capital spending in mining structures--mostly oil wells--alone subtracted 0.6 percentage points from headline GDP growth in the first quarter. The collapse was bigger than we expected, based on the falling rig count, but the key point is that it will not be repeated in the second quarter.

3 July 2017 Three Jobs Reports in Nine Weeks set to Shift Market Rate Expectations (Publication Centre)

The next nine weeks bring three jobs reports, which will determine whether the Fed hikes again in September, as we expect, and will also help shape market expectations for December and beyond.

30 June 2017 Core PCE Inflation set to Fall Again, but it won't Sway the Fed (Publication Centre)

We have argued recently that the year-over-year rates of core CPI and core PCE inflation could cross over the next year, with core PCE rising more quickly for the first time since 2010.

31 January 2017 Will Faster Wage Growth Finally Trigger An Acceleration in the ECI? (Publication Centre)

The headline employment cost index has been remarkably dull recently, with three straight 0.6% quarterly increases. The consensus forecast for today's report, for the three months to December, is for the same again.

23 October 2018 Business Surveys have Flattened Richmond Fed due to Correct (Publication Centre)

All the regional PMIs and Fed business surveys are volatile in the short-term, so observations for single months need to be viewed with due skepticism.

23 May 2018 New Home Sales Appear to have Peaked - Downside Risk for April? (Publication Centre)

The monthly new home sales numbers are so volatile that just about anything can happen in any given month.

16 November 2018 The Boost to Retail Sales from Tax Cuts is Fading, as Holidays Approach (Publication Centre)

The headline retail sales numbers for October looked good, but the details were less comforting.

20 July 2017 The June Housing Starts Rebound is not the Start of a Boom (Publication Centre)

We would like to be able to argue with conviction that the surge in June housing starts and building permits represents the beginning of a renewed strong upward trend, but we think that's unlikely.

21 September 2017 The FOMC is not Deterred by the Hurricanes, Expect a December Hike (Publication Centre)

The FOMC's view of the economic outlook and the likely required policy response, set out in yesterday's statement and Chair Yellen's press conference, could not be clearer.

21 September 2018 Housing Activity is Faltering, but the Modestly (Publication Centre)

The New York Fed tweeted yesterday that "Housing market fundamentals appear strong.

22 September 2017 How far will the Hurricanes Depress September Payrolls? (Publication Centre)

The trend rate of increase in private payrolls in the months before Hurricane Katrina in 2005 was about 240K per month.

19 May. 2016 Fed on Course to Hike, Soon, but Will Brexit Risk Forestall June? (Publication Centre)

The April FOMC minutes don't mince words: "Most participants judged that if incoming data were consistent with economic growth picking up in the second quarter, labor market conditions continuing to strengthen, and inflation making progress toward the Committee's 2 percent objective, then it likely would be appropriate for the Committee to increase the target range for the federal funds rate in June".

16 May 2017 Manufacturing is Recovering, Despite the Hard and Soft Data Gap (Publication Centre)

The over-hyped mystery of the gap between the hard and soft data in the industrial economy has largely resolved itself in recent months.

15 Jan. 2015 - Falling December Retail Sales no Threat to the Strong Growth Story (Publication Centre)

We want to be very clear about the terrible-looking December retail sales numbers: The core numbers were much less bad than the headline, and there is no reason to think the dip in the core is anything other than noise.

15 August. 2016 Don't Fret Over the July Retail Sales and PPI Data (Publication Centre)

Let's be clear: The July retail sales numbers do not mean the consumer is rolling over, and the PPI numbers do not mean that disinflation pressure is intensifying. We argued in the Monitor last Friday, ahead of the sales data, that the 4.2% surge in second quarter consumption--likely to be revised up slightly--could not last, and the relative sluggishness of the July core retail sales numbers is part of the necessary correction. Headline sales were depressed by falling gasoline prices, which subtracted 0.2%.

15 July. 2016 Autos Will Depress Headline June Spending, Core Picture is Fine (Publication Centre)

When the dust settles after today's wave of data, we expect to have learned that core retail sales continued to rise in June, core inflation nudged back up to its cycle high, and manufacturing output rebounded after an auto-led drop in May. None of these reports will be enough to push the Fed into early action, but they will add to the picture of a reasonably solid domestic economy ahead of the U.K. Brexit referendum.

15 Mar. 2016 Downside Risk for Retail Sales, but Real Consumption is What Counts (Publication Centre)

This week's wave of data starts today, but most of the attention will fall on just one report, February retail sales. We expect weak-looking numbers, thanks to the plunge in gas prices, which likely will subtract some 0.6% from the non-auto sales number.

15 March 2018 Retail Sales have Corrected from the Post-Hurricane Surge (Publication Centre)

Don't worry about the weakness of the recent retail sales numbers. The three straight 0.1% month-to- month declines tell us nothing about the underlying state of the consumer.

15 August 2018 Soft July Headline Retail Sales Numbers will Hide a Solid Core (Publication Centre)

The first wave of domestic third quarter data crashes ashore this morning.

12 February 2018 The Next Round of Data Likely Will Dampen Inflation Fears, For a Time (Publication Centre)

It's hard to know what will stop the correction in the stock market, but we're pretty sure that robust economic data--growth, prices and/or wages--over the next few weeks would make things worse.

03 October. 2016 ISM Unlikely to Rebound Much, but Manufacturing is Not Shrinking (Publication Centre)

Today's September ISM manufacturing survey is one of the most keenly-awaited for some time. Was the unexpected plunge in August a one-time fluke--perhaps due to sampling error, or a temporary reaction to the Gulf Coast floods, or Brexit--or was it evidence of a more sustained downshift, possibly triggered by political uncertainty?

1 March 2018 Don't Extrapolate Januarys Core PCE Deflator (Publication Centre)

All eyes today will be on the core PCE deflator for January, following the unexpectedly large 0.3% increase in the core CPI.

1 May 2017 Ignore the Weak Q1 GDP Numbers -- they Cannot be Trusted (Publication Centre)

If you apply a seasonal adjustment to a seasonally adjusted series, it shouldn't change. When you apply a seasonal adjustment to the U.S. GDP numbers, they do change. First quarter growth, reported Friday at just 0.7%, goes up to 1.7%, on our estimate.

1 May 2018 ISM Manufacturing has Peaked, but don't Expect a Sudden Rollover (Publication Centre)

We're expecting the April ISM report today to bring yet more evidence that the manufacturing cycle is peaking, though we remain of the view that the next cyclical downturn is still some way off.

16 November 2017 Core CPI Mean-Reverts, but Base Effects Mean Sub-2% Until March (Publication Centre)

The average month-to-month increase in the core CPI in the past three months is a solid 0.20, much firmer than the 0.05% average over the previous five months, stretching back to the first of the run of downside surprises, in March.

15 May 2018 Autos Likely Constrained April Retail Sales, Core Trend is Gently Upwards (Publication Centre)

The story of U.S. retail sales since last summer is mostly a story about the impact of the hurricanes, Harvey in particular.

16 Mar. 2015 The Fed won't wait for the Whites of Inflation's eyes (Publication Centre)

We don't often picks fights with Nobel prize winners and former Treasury secretaries. But right now we think that Paul Krugman and Larry Summers, leading lights of the view that the Fed should not begin to raise rates "until you see the whites of inflation's eyes", are dead wrong.

16 Mar. 2016 Can Yellen Reconcile Lower Dots, Rates on Hold and Rising Inflation? (Publication Centre)

The further improvement in labor market conditions and the jump in core inflation means that the economic data have given the Fed all the excuse it needs to raise rates today. But the chance of a hike is very small, not least because the fed funds future puts the odds of an action today at just 4%, and the Fed has proved itself very reluctant to surprise investors-- at least, in a bad way--in the past.

16 March 2017 The Fed Won't be Able to Dodge the Fiscal Policy Question in June (Publication Centre)

It might seem odd to describe a meeting at which the Fed raised rates for only the third time since 2006 as a holding operation, but that just about sums up yesterday's actions. The 25bp rate hike was fully anticipated; the forecasts for growth, inflation and interest rates were barely changed from December; and the Fed still expects a total of three hikes this year.

16 May 2018 Downside Risks to April Housing Construction, IP Looks Strong (Publication Centre)

We see downside risk to the housing starts numbers for April, due today. Our core view on housing market activity, both sales and construction activity, is that the next few months, through the summer, will be broadly flat-to-down.

15 November. 2016 Autos and Higher Gas Prices Will Flatter October Retail Sales Data (Publication Centre)

The combination of unexpectedly strong auto sales and rising gas prices should generate strong-looking headline retail sales numbers for October. We have no idea what to expect for November, with two-thirds of the month coming after the election, but the final pre- election sales report will look good.

16 June 2017 Housing Construction Should Rebound (Publication Centre)

We were surprised by the weakness of the April housing starts report; we expected a robust recovery after the March numbers were depressed by the severe snowstorms across a large swathe of the country. Instead, single-family permits rose only trivially and multi-family activity--which is always volatile--fell by 9% month-to-month.

15 Sept. 2015 August Retail Sales "Soft" Again? But the Real Story is Different (Publication Centre)

Today's wave of data will be mixed, but most of the headlines are likely to be on the soft side, so the reports are very unlikely to trigger a wave of last minute defections to the hawkish side of the FOMC. As always, though, the headlines don't necessarily capture the underlying story, and that's certainly been the case with the retail sales data this year. Plunging prices for gas and imported goods, especially audio-video items, have driven down the rate of growth of nominal retail sales, but real sales have performed much better.

16 July 2018 No Hard Evidence that Tariffs are Hurting Business Investment... Yet (Publication Centre)

We can see no hard evidence, yet, that the expanding trade war with China and other U.S. trading partners is hitting business investment.

16 August 2018 Domestic Demand Strength from Q2 Spilled Over into Early Q3 (Publication Centre)

Yesterday's wave of data suggested that a good part of the strength in final demand in the second quarter was sustained into the first month of this quarter, and perhaps the second too.

16 December 2016 Core Inflation has Levelled-Off, but Only Temporarily, Headline to Soar (Publication Centre)

A casual glance at our first chart, which shows the headline and core inflation rates, might lead you to think that our fears for next year are overdone. Core inflation rose rapidly from a low of 1.6% in January 2015 to 2.3% in February this year, but since then it has bounced around a range from 2.1% to 2.3%.

16 February 2018 Healthcare Costs Drove up January's Core PPI (Publication Centre)

Having panicked at the January hourly earnings numbers, markets now seem to have decided that higher inflation might not be such a bad thing after all, and stocks rallied after both Wednesday's core CPI overshoot and yesterday's repeat performance in the PPI.

16 September. 2016 Something Bad Happened to Industry in August, Will it Last? (Publication Centre)

We have not been expecting the Fed to raise rates next week, and yesterday's data made a hike even less likely. The September Philly Fed and Empire State surveys were alarmingly weak everywhere except the headline level, and the official August production data were grim.

21 Apr. 2016 Further Evidence that the Manufacturing Rollover is History? (Publication Centre)

The recent sharp, if not startling, upturn in the regional manufacturing surveys should continue today with the release of the Philadelphia Fed report. The survey is constructed in the same way as the more volatile Empire State, which has rocketed in the past few months, and the headline indexes follow similar trends, as our first chart shows.

15 Jan. 2016 Downside Risk for December Retail Sales and Industrial Output (Publication Centre)

After a very light week for economic data so far, everything changes today, with an array of reports on both activity and inflation. We expect headline weakness across the board, with downside risks to consensus for the December retail sales and industrial production numbers, and the January Empire State survey and Michigan consumer sentiment. The damage will b e done by a combination of falling oil prices, very warm weather, relative to seasonal norms, and the stock market.

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