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14 Oct. 2015 Soaring Auto Sales Should Offset Yet Another Gas Price Hit (Publication Centre)

After last week's relatively light flow of data, today brings a wave of information on both the pace of economic growth and inflation. The markets' attention likely will fall first on the September retail sales numbers, which will be subject to at least three separate forces. First, the jump in auto sales reported by the manufacturers a couple of weeks ago ought to keep the headline sales numbers above water.

2 May 2017 The Rebounding Auto Sales to Signal the Start of a Q2 Consumer Rebound (Publication Centre)

March auto sales were much weaker than expected, falling by 5.5% month-to-month to a 25-month low, 16.5M. The average for the previous six months was 17.8M. The sudden drop in March likely was driven in large part by the huge snowstorm which tracked across the Northeast in the middle week of the month, so we think a decent rebound in April is a good bet.

3 May. 2016 Auto Sales Set for Clear April Rebound, Boosting Consumption (Publication Centre)

The startling 5.5% drop in auto sales in March left sales at just 16.5M, well below the 17.4M average for the previous three months and the lowest level since February last year. A combination of the early Easter, which causes serious problems for the seasonal adjustments, and the lagged effect of the plunge in stock prices in January and February, likely explains much of the decline.

24 August 2017 New Auto Sales Appear to have hit Bottom, Modest Gains in Q4? (Publication Centre)

Industry estimates for August light vehicle sales suggest that the downshift in sales which began at the turn of the year is over, at least for now.

3 October 2017 Auto Sales Rebounded in September, but by How Much? (Publication Centre)

Auto industry watchers at WardsAuto and JD Power are in agreement that today's September sales numbers will be little changed from a year ago, at around 17.5M.

16 Oct. 2015 No Signs of Recovery in Brazil's Domestic Demand (Publication Centre)

Brazil's retail sales plunged in August, falling 0.9% month-to-month--the seventh consecutive contraction -- and with a net revision of -0.6%. The broad retail index, which includes vehicles and construction materials, dropped 2.0% month-to-month, the biggest fall this year, due mainly to a 5.2% collapse in auto sales, reversing July's unexpected increase. In annual terms, headline sales fell by an eye-popping 6.9% in August, after the downwardly-revised 3.9% drop in July. In short, the sales data show that consumers are suffering. They will struggle for some time yet.

6 September 2017 Harvey set to Distort Chainstore, MBA Data Today, but no hit on ISM (Publication Centre)

Last Friday's August auto sales numbers were overshadowed by the below-consensus payroll report and the six-year high in the ISM manufacturing index, but they are the first data to reflect the impact of Hurricane Harvey.

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.

3 Nov. 2015 Truck Sales Soaring, Lifted by Cheap Gas, Robust Confidence (Publication Centre)

Most of the time, markets view auto sales as a bellwether indicator of the state of the consumer. Vehicles are the biggest-ticket item for most households, after housing, and most people buy cars and trucks with credit. Auto purchase decisions, therefore, tend not to be taken lightly, and so are a good guide to peoples' underlying confidence and cashflow. We appreciate that things were different at the peak of the boom, when anyone could get a loan and homeowners could tap the rising values of their properties, but that's not the situation today.

13 Apr. 2016 Downside Risk as Autos Set to Pull Down March Retail Sales (Publication Centre)

The headline March retail sales numbers probably will look horrible, thanks to the unexpected drop in auto sales reported by the manufacturers earlier this month. Their unit sales data don't always move exactly in line with the dollar value numbers in the retail sales report, as our first chart shows, but it's hard to imagine anything other than a clear decline today.

12 Feb. 2016 More Downside Retail Sales Risk, Thanks to Gas, Cheaper Imports (Publication Centre)

Outside the battered energy sector, the most consistently disconcerting economic numbers last year, in the eyes of the markets, were the monthly retail sales data. Non-auto sales undershot consensus forecasts in nine of the 12 months in 2015, with a median shortfall of 0.3%.

21 Jan. 2015 Colombia Will Lose Momentum in 2015, But Don't Panic Just Yet (Publication Centre)

Colombia is one of the few larger economies in Latin America to have enjoyed solid, positive economic growth over the past two years. But lower commodity prices and last year's central bank tightening, to curb high inflation generated by strong growth, have started to become visible in the main economic data.

27 September 2017 Yellen is Following the Tightening Labor Market, it's Telling her to Hike (Publication Centre)

Fed Chair Yellen's speech in Cleveland yesterday elaborated on the key themes from last week's FOMC meeting.

3 April 2017 Expect Strength in Both the ISM and Construction Data Today (Publication Centre)

We'd be very surprised to see a material weakening in today's March ISM manufacturing survey. The regional reports released in recent weeks point to another reading in the high 50s, with a further advance from February's 57.7 a real possibility.

20 May. 2015 Chile is Recovering, But Colombia Faces Further Near-Term Softness (Publication Centre)

Colombia, the third largest economy in LatAm, has not been immune to the headwinds of the global economy since the financial crisis in 2008, though it remains one of the fastest growing economies in the region. GDP growth slowed sharply to just 1.7% in 2009, but that was still much better than the 1.2% contraction of the region as a whole.

28 April 2017 Current Account in Brazil Still Improving, But not for Long (Publication Centre)

Brazil's recovery has been steady in recent months, and Q1 likely will mark the end of the recession. The gradual recovery of the industrial and agricultural sectors has been the highlight, thanks to improving external demand, the lagged effect of the more competitive BRL, and the more stable political situation, which has boosted sentiment.

20 Jan. 2016 Venezuela Is Collapsing - LatAm's Star--Colombia--Is Merely Slowing (Publication Centre)

Commodity prices have started the year under further downward pressure. This is yet more negative news for LatAm, as most of the countries have failed to diversify, instead relying on oil or copper for a large share of exports and, critically, tax revenue. Venezuela is the biggest loser in the region from the oil hit, and, together with the worsening political and economic crisis, it has pushed the country even closer to the verge of collapse, threatening its debt payments. Venezuela's central bank last week released economic data for the first time since 2014, showing that inflation spiralled to 141% and that the economy shrank 4.5% in the first nine months of last year.

17 November. 2016 Will Europe Have to Increase Spending on Defence Soon? (Publication Centre)

The winds of global politics are changing, and the major Eurozone countries could be forced to take heed. Donald Trump's foreign policy position remains highly uncertain. Our Chief Economist, Ian Shepherdson, expects the U.S. to increase defence spending next year; see the U.S. Monitor of October 20.

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.

18 Apr. 2016 EZ Demand for New Cars Slowed in Q1, and will Slow A gain in Q2 (Publication Centre)

Growth in Eurozone car sales slowed slightly at the end of the first quarter. New car registrations in the euro area rose 5.8% year-over-year in March, down from a 14.4% increase in February. But the 12-month average level of new registrations jumped to new cyclical highs of 440,000 and 252,000 in the core and periphery respectively.

19 Apr. 2016 Weaker Dollar Will Boost Q2 Retail Sales, but not March Consumption (Publication Centre)

If we're right in our view that the strength of the dollar has been a major factor depressing the rate of growth of nominal retail sales, the weakening of the currency since January should soon be reflected in stronger-looking numbers. In real terms--which is what matters for GDP and, ultimately, the lab or market--nothing will change, but perceptions are important and markets have not looked kindly on the dollar-depressed sales data.

2 Mar. 2015 If Real Wages are Key for the Fed, Policy Will Change Very Soon (Publication Centre)

If recent labor market trends continue, the four employment reports which will be released before the June FOMC meeting will show the economy creating about 1.1M jobs, pushing the unemployment rate down to 5.3%, almost at the bottom of the Fed's estimated Nairu range, 5.2-to-5.5%.

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.

7 November 2017 JOLTS Report will Confirm that Labor Demand is Rising Strongly (Publication Centre)

No single measure of labor demand is always a reliable leading indicator of the official payroll numbers, which is why we track an array of private and official measures.

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.

4 Apr. 2016 While We Were Out... (Publication Centre)

The March employment report didn't tell us what we really want to know. The underlying trend in wage growth remains obscured by the calendar quirk which depresses reported hourly earnings when the 15th of the month--pay day for people paid semi-monthly -- falls after the payroll survey week.

5 May 2017 Surveys Signal a Solid Start to Q2, but "Hard" Data Remain Weak (Publication Centre)

Activity surveys picked up across the board in April, offering hope that the slowdown in GDP growth--to just 0.3% quarter-on-quarter in Q1-- will be just a blip. The headline indicators of surveys from the CBI, European Commission, Lloyds Bank and Markit all improved in April and all exceeded their 2004-to-2016 averages.

4 January 2017 December's ISM looks great, but it's not definitive (Publication Centre)

It probably would be wise to view the increase in the ISM manufacturing index in December with a degree of skepticism. The index is supposed to record only hard activity, but we can't help but wonder if some of the euphoria evident in surveys of consumers' sentiment has leaked into responses to the ISM. That said, the jump in the key new orders index-- which tends to lead the other components--looked to be overdue, relative to the strength of the import component of China's PMI.

6 March 2017 Fed Fears Hit LatAm FX Last Week - is a Renewed Sell-off Coming? (Publication Centre)

LatAm assets have struggled in recent days as it has become clear that the Fed will hike next week. But we don't expect currencies to collapse, as domestic fundamentals are improving and the broader external outlook is relatively benign.

30 September. 2016 August Spending is Less Worrying than the Scope for Higher In ation (Publication Centre)

Yesterday's relatively good news--we discuss the implications of the August trade data below--will be followed by rather more mixed reports today. We hope to see a partial rebound, at least, in the September Chicago PMI, but we fully expect soft August consumer spending data.

5 July 2017 ISM Signals Continued Industrial Recovery, but not a Boom (Publication Centre)

The June ISM manufacturing index signalled clearly that the industrial recovery continues, with the headline number rising to its highest level since August 2014, propelled by rising orders and production. But the industrial economy is not booming and the upturn likely will lose a bit of momentum in the second half as the rebound in oil sector capex slows.

30 November 2017 A Strong Start to Fourth Quarter Consumption, Probably (Publication Centre)

The rate of growth of third quarter consumers' spending was revised up by 0.3 percentage point to 3.3% in the national accounts released yesterday.

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.

7 February 2017 Q1 Growth to Disappoint, Again? (Publication Centre)

The obvious answer to the question posed in our title is that it's far too early to tell what will happen to first quarter growth. More than half the quarter hasn't even happened yet, and data for January are still extremely patchy, with no official reports on retail sales, industrial production, housing, capex, inventories or international trade yet available. For what it's worth, the Atlanta Fed's GDPNow model signals growth of 3.4%, though we note that it substantially overstated the first estimate of growth in the fourth quarter.

3 May 2017 Fed on Hold Today After Mixed Data, but a June Hike Still Looks Likely (Publication Centre)

The Fed likely will do nothing today, both in terms of interest rates and substantive changes to the statement. We'd be very surprised to hear anything new on the Fed's plans for its balance sheet.

11 Sept. 2015 Falling Stock Set to Depress Consumers' Sentiment (Publication Centre)

People don't like to see the value of their portfolios decline, and it is just a matter of time before the benchmark measures of consumer sentiment drop in response to the 7% fall in the S&P since mid-August. Sometimes, movements in stock prices don't affect the sentiment numbers immediately, especially if the market moves gradually. But the drop in the market in August was rapid and dramatic, and gripped the national media.

1 July. 2016 Manufacturing Activity Has Levelled-Off - Better News Ahead (Publication Centre)

The manufacturing sector is much more exposed to external forces--the dollar, and global growth--than the rest of the economy. But much of the slowdown in the sector over the past year-and-a-half, we think, can be traced back to the impact of plunging oil prices on capital spending in the sector.

1 June 2017 ADP Likely to Rebound Strongly, but Probably Will Overstate Payrolls (Publication Centre)

We're expecting a strong-looking 225K increase in the May ADP measure of private sector payroll growth, due today. The consensus forecast is 180K.

1 February 2017 Expect a Slightly More Hawkish FOMC Tone, to Keep March Alive (Publication Centre)

We're expecting the FOMC to vote unanimously not raise rates today, but we do expect a modestly hawkish tilt in the statement. Specifically, we're expecting an acknowledgment of the upturn in business investment reported in the Q4 GDP data, and of the increase in market-based measures of inflation expectations, given that 10-year TIPS breakevens are now above 2% for the first time since September 2014.

15 February 2017 Poor Brazilian Retail Sales don't Change the Improving Trend (Publication Centre)

Brazil's consumer spending data yesterday appeared downbeat. Retail sales fell 2.1% month-to-month in December, pushing the year-over-year rate down to 4.9%, from -3.8% in November. This is a poor looking headline, but volatility is normal in these data at this time of the year, and the underlying trend is improving.

02 Feb. 2016 First Quarter Consumption Will be Better - Weather Effects Will Help (Publication Centre)

The upward revisions to real consumers' spending in the fourth quarter, coupled with the likelihood of a hefty rebound in spending on utility energy services, means first quarter spending ought to rise at a faster pace than the 2.2% fourth quarter gain. Spending on utilities was hugely depressed in November and December by the extended spell of much warmer-than-usual weather.

1 June. 2016 Chile's Domestic Demand Growth to Slow in Q2, A fter a Solid Q1 (Publication Centre)

Chile's April retail sales data, released on Monday, show that private consumption started the second quarter on a solid footing. Sales rose 3.0% month-to-month, pushing the year-over-rate up to 7.9% from 1.4% in March and an average of 4.0% in Q1. The headline was boosted by a favourable calendar effect, as April this year had two more trading days than April 2015.

07 Jan. 2016 Uncertainty Over China's Currency Intentions Set to Persist (Publication Centre)

The 2.4% depreciation of the yuan over the past month has not been quite as big as the 3.0% move on August 11, and it's not a big enough shift to make a material difference to aggregate U.S. export performance. Market nerves, then, seem to us to be largely a reflection of fear of what might come next. China's real effective exchange rate--the trade-weighted index adjusted for relative inflation rates--has risen relentlessly over the past decade, and to restore competitiveness to, say, its 2011 level, would require a 20%-plus devaluation.

14 December 2016 Brazil Consumption Under Strain in Early Q4, but it Will Improve, Soon (Publication Centre)

Brazil's consumer recession seems never-ending. Retail sales fell 0.8% month-to-month in October, pushing the headline year-over-year rate down to -8.2% in October, from -5.7% in September. Recent financial market volatility, credit restrictions and the ongoing deterioration of the labour market continue to hurt consumers.

11 January 2017 Black Friday Drove Sales Higher in Brazil, is a Hangover Coming? (Publication Centre)

Brazil's consumer recession finally eased in November. Retail sales jumped 2.0% month-to- month, following an upwardly-revised 0.3% drop in October, and the year-over-year rate rose to -3.5% from -8.1%. November's astonishing performance probably reflects seasonal adjustment problems related to Black Friday discounting. Sales have climbed in the last four Novembers, suggesting that consumers' pre-Christmas spending patterns have shifted permanently.

13 May. 2016 Savings Rate is Set to Dip as Retail Sales Rebound From Easter Hit (Publication Centre)

Some of the rise in the saving rate in recent months is real, but part of the increase likely reflects seasonal adjustment problems. The saving rate has risen between the fourth and first quarters in eight of the past 10 years, as our first chart shows.

13 October 2017 Did the Hurricanes Lift September's Core CPI, as well as the Headline? (Publication Centre)

Three separate stories will come together to generate today's September core CPI number. First, we wonder if the hurricanes will lift the core CPI.

12 Mar. 2015 Cheap Gas to Boost Spring Sales, but February Looks Soft (Publication Centre)

Sooner or later, the surge in consumers' spending power triggered by the drop in gas prices and the acceleration in payrolls will appear in the retail sales data.

14 October. 2016 Retail Sales Rebounded Last Month, Q3 Consumption Looks Solid (Publication Centre)

Retail sales have lost steam over the past couple of months, even if you look through the headline gyrations triggered by swings in auto sales and gasoline prices.

14 June. 2016 May Sales Will Be Less Impressive than April's but Good Enough (Publication Centre)

April's impressive-looking retail sales numbers--the headline jumped 1.3%, with non-auto sales up 0.8%--were boosted by two entirely separate factors, one of which will play no p art in May and one which will offer very modest support. The key lift in April came from the very early Easter, which confounded the seasonal adjustments, as it usually does.

14 August. 2015 Brazil's Weakness Remains - And Mexico Still Eyeing the Fed (Publication Centre)

The macro data reported in Brazil this week added weight to the view that the economy ended the second quarter in a severe recession. Brazil's retail sales fell 0.4% month-to-month in June, the fifth consecutive contraction. The broad retail index, which includes vehicles and construction materials, fell 0.8% month-to-month, with a sharp contraction in auto sales, down 2.8%.

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.

11 June. 2015 Autos Will Lift May Retail Sales - Core a Mystery as Redbook Drops (Publication Centre)

We can be reasonably sure that the headline May retail sales number will look quite strong, thanks to the surge in auto sales reported by the manufacturers last week. Sales of cars and light trucks soared past industry analysts' expectations to a nine-year high, rising 7.5% from their April level.

26 June. 2015 Rapid Income Gains and Lower Saving Mean Strong H2 Spending (Publication Centre)

the past few observations make clear. Real spending jumped by 0.5% in March, rebounding after its weather-induced softness in February, before stalling again in April. Then, in May, the s urge in new auto sales to a nine-year high lifted total spending again, driving a 0.6% real increase.

1 November 2016 Will Core PCE Inflation hit 2% This Year? (Publication Centre)

In the absence of an unexpected surge in auto sales or a sudden burst of unseasonably cold weather, lifting spending on utilities, fourth quarter consumption is going to struggle to rise much more quickly than the 2.1% annualized third quarter increase.

30 August. 2016 Strong Consumption Set to Support Robust Third Quarter GDP Growth (Publication Centre)

In the wake of the robust July data and the upward revisions to June, real personal consumption--which accounts for 69% of GDP--appears set to rise by at least 3% in the third quarter, and 3.5% is within reach. To reach 4%, though, spending would have to rise by 0.3% in both August and September, and that will be a real struggle given July's already-elevated auto sales and, especially, overstretched spending on utility energy.

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 February 2017 Colombian Consumers are in Good Shape, but Spending will Slow (Publication Centre)

Colombia's retail sector surprised to the upside once again in December, despite a number of domestic headwinds. Sales jumped 6.2% year- over-year, up from 4.9% in November, marking an impressive end to the quarter. The underlying trend improved significantly in Q4, as shown in our first chart. A double-digit rise in auto sales was the main driver, offsetting weakness in other key components.

16 August 2017 Strong July Sales and Revisions Signal Robust Consumption (Publication Centre)

July's retail sales report signalled a good start to the third quarter but also implied that second quarter spending was stronger than previously thought. The upward revisions--totalling 0.5% for total sales and 0.4% for non-auto sales--were the biggest for some time, but we were not unduly surprised.

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