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20 September. 2016 Homebuilders Need to Catch up to Rising Sales - Expect a Q4 Surge (Publication Centre)

The information available to date--which is still very incomplete--suggests that new housing construction will decline in the third quarter. This would be the second straight decline, following the 6.1% drop in Q2. We aren't expecting such a large fall in the third quarter, but it is nonetheless curious that housing investment--construction, in other words--is falling at a time when new home sales have risen sharply.

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.

19 May. 2015 Rising Mortgage Demand Set to Boost Summer New Home Sales (Publication Centre)

The level of mortgage applications long ago ceased to be a reliable indicator of the level of new home sales, thanks to the fracturing of the mortgage market triggered by the financial crash. But the rates of change of mortgage demand and new home sales are correlated, as our first chart shows, and the current message clearly is positive.

19 June 2018 Rental Inflation is Set to Rise as Vacancies fall and Demand Increases (Publication Centre)

Housing rents account for some 41% of the core CPI and 18% of the core PCE, making them hugely important determinants of the core inflation rate.

19 September 2017 Housing Takes a Modest Hurricane Hit, so far, More to Come? (Publication Centre)

The September NAHB survey, released yesterday, shows, that the housing market took a knock from the hurricanes but the damage, so far at least, appears to be contained.

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.

19 December 2017 New Home Sales and Construction Appear Set to Rocket Next Year (Publication Centre)

In the short-term, all the housing data are volatile. But you can be sure that if the recent pace of new home sales is sustained, housing construction will rise.

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.

20 October. 2016 Are Jobless Claims Really at a 43-Year Low?  (Publication Centre)

The recent jobless claims numbers have been spectacularly good, with the absolute level dropping unexpectedly in the past two weeks to a 43-year low. The four-week moving average has dropped by a hefty 14K since late August.

19 July. 2016 Why is Homebuilding not Keeping Pace with Demand? (Publication Centre)

The sustained upturn in mortgage applications since last fall ought to have driven up the pace of new home construction quite sharply. But our first chart shows that single-family building permit issuance--we use permits rather than starts, as they are much less volatile--rose only 8.3% year-over-year in the three months to May, while applications for new mortgages to finance house purchase jumped by 18.8% over the same period.

24 April 2018 Surveys are Stronger than Hard Data, but with no Common Cause (Publication Centre)

The levelling-off in the industrial surveys in recent months is reflected in the consumer sentiment numbers. Anything can happen in any given month, but we'd now be surprised to see sustained further gains in any of the regular monthly surveys.

27 October. 2016 Core Capex Orders Set for Third Straight Gain as Oil Hit Fades? (Publication Centre)

The headline durable goods orders number for October, due today, likely will be depressed by falling aircraft orders, both civilian and military. Boeing reported orders for 55 civilian aircraft in September, compared to only three in August, but a hefty adverse swing in the seasonal factor will translate that into a small seasonally adjusted decline.

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.

26 January 2018 Q4 Growth Likely Near 3%, but Real Uncertainties in Trade, Inventories (Publication Centre)

need to add docMea culpa: We failed to spot the press release from the Commerce Department announcing the delay of the release of the advance December trade and inventory data, due to the government shutdown.

25 July 2018 More Signs Today that Housing Market Activity is Peaking (Publication Centre)

New home sales surprised to the upside in May, rising 6.7% to 689K, a six-month high.

24 May 2018 April Existing Home Sales Likely to Signal that Activity has Peaked (Publication Centre)

The recovery in existing home sales appears to have stalled, at best.

25 February 2019 Manufacturing Continues to Weaken, no Floor Yet in Sight (Publication Centre)

Last week's data added yet more weight to our view that manufacturing is in deep trouble, and that the bottom has not yet been reached.

21 Jan. 2015 - Spending Not Yet Surging in the Wake of Cheaper Gas, But it Will (Publication Centre)

So far, the surge in retail spending promised by the plunge in gasoline prices has not materialized. The latest Redbook chain store sales numbers dipped below the gently rising trend last week, perhaps because of severe weather, but the point is that the holiday season burst of spending has not been maintained.

18 July. 2016 Core Inflation is Grinding Slowly Higher, but Bigger Risks Ahead (Publication Centre)

Trouble is brewing in the core inflation data, despite the benign-looking 0.17% increase in the June report, released Friday. If you annualize that rate indefinitely, core inflation will reach a steady state of 2.1%, so the Fed never needs to raise rates. Alas this only makes sense if you think that single monthly CPI numbers tell the whole truth, and that the fundamental forces acting on inflation are stable. Neither of these propositions is remotely true.

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 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.

15 March 2017 Rates Will Rise by 25bp Today, but Extra Dots More Likely in June (Publication Centre)

The Fed will hike by 25 basis points today, citing the tightening labor market as the key reason to press ahead with the process of policy normalization. We think the case for adding an extra dot to the plot for both this year and next is powerful.

15 Dec. 2015 Core CPI Inflation to Hit 2% for the First Time Since May 2014 (Publication Centre)

Falling gas prices will make themselves felt in the November CPI data today, with a likely 4% seasonally adjusted decline enough to subtract 0.2% from the month-to-month change in the headline index. But gas prices plunged by 7.2% in November last year, so in year-over-year terms gas prices will push aggregate headline inflation up. We look for the rate to rise to 0.4%, up from 0.2% in October and zero in September. The same story will play out in January and February too, by which time the headline rate should have risen to 1¼%, assuming a crude oil price of about $35 per barrel.

1 December 2017 The ISM Manufacturing Index is set to Drop, but the Trend Remains Firm (Publication Centre)

All the regional PMI and Fed business surveys we follow suggest that today's national ISM manufacturing report for November will be weaker than in October

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%.

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.

16 April 2018 Core Retail Sales Back on Track After Hurricane-Induced Swings? (Publication Centre)

We are not concerned by the slowdown in retail sales over the past few months.

17 December 2018 Corporate Debt Service Still Falling, Three Years After the First Fed Hike (Publication Centre)

This week brings the third anniversary of the first rate hike in this cycle, on December 16, 2015.

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.

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.

17 August 2018 Noisy Headlines Don't Change the Core Story Growth Still Solid (Publication Centre)

Your correspondent is headed to the beach for the next couple of weeks, with publication resuming on Tuesday, September 4.

16 October 2018 Q3 Consumption Rose by Nearly 4%, Despite So September Retail Sales (Publication Centre)

The softness of the headline September retail sales numbers hid a decent 0.5% increase in the "control" measure, which is the best guide to consumers' spending on non-durable goods.

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 March 2018 Housing Starts and Manufacturing Likely Shone in February (Publication Centre)

Today brings yet another broad array of data, with new information on housing construction, industrial production, consumer sentiment, and job openings.

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.

BUSINESS INSIDER - Homebuilder sentiment dropped in November (Media Centre)

Chief U.S. Economist Ian Shepherdson on NAHB

BUSINESS INSIDER - Homebuilder confidence tumbles in March (Media Centre)

Chief US Economist Ian Shepherdson comments on disappointing Homebuilder Confidence data

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