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- Technicalities flatter August retail sales, but the upside surprise is real; an echo of earlier Covid-era patterns.
- States suffering most from the Delta wave have rela- tively low immunity, but the national wave is breaking.
- The risk of a serious further wave is fading as total immunity approaches Delta-suppressing levels.
- Another soft retail sales report today seems inevitable, thanks to Delta, with more pain likely in September.
- Expect a rebound in jobless claims from last week's cycle low, thanks to claims delayed by Hurricane Ida.
- It's too soon to read any signal about September pay- rolls from the Homebase data; patience required.
- Cross-currents in the core CPI suggest further volatility over the next few months…
- …But a repeat of the spring surge is unlikely, even as hotel room rates and airline fares rebound, post-Delta.
- The NFIB survey hints that small firms are responding to tight labor markets by increasing their capex
- The run of huge gains in the core CPI is over; the big- gest change is the end of the surge in used car prices.
- Hotel room rates and airline fares likely fell last month too, thanks to the Delta hit.
- The NFIB survey likely will be Delta-bruised too, but the labor market numbers are very strong.
- The current inflation spike can only become a spiral if unit labor costs accelerate..
- ...Faster productivity growth can prevent that, and the signs are that business capex is stepping up.
- Stronger productivity growth would prevent runaway inflation but lift r-star; the Fed would still have to hike.
- Core PPI inflation likely hit a new high in August, but the month-to-month increases are set to slow.
- Much of the recent surge has been due to widening margins, especially in autos; this can't last forever.
- The drop in jobless claims reported yesterday is noise, not signal, and it says nothing about payrolls.
- In one line: This is just the start of the Delta hit; tapering delayed.
- A 400K payroll print today would confirm other evidence pointing to a clear Delta hit to growth.
- September payrolls likely will be depressed too; that's the last report before the November FOMC meeting.
- Delta damage to discretionary consumers' spending signals downside risk for ISM services today.
- The rate of increase of existing home prices is slowing sharply, but the Case-Shiller data are slow to respond.
- Downside risk for August consumer confidence, but we already know that Delta is scaring people.
- Boeing's recovery is supporting the Chicago PMI, but growth in national manufacturing is moderating.
- The unwinding of the Q2 stimulus boost and the Delta hit mean that consumption looks set to fall in Q3…
- …But rising business capex and a potentially massive rebound in inventories will support growth.
- Powell's defense of "transitory" and push for full employment means no taper until data are clearer.
- Chair Powell can't signal a tapering start date today because the Fed first needs to see fall labor data.
- Expect the usual themes instead; inflation will be "transitory", insufficient progress to taper, and Delta risk.
- Upside risk for both consumers' spending and the core PCE deflator in today's July data.
- Delta waves are brutal but relatively short; U.S. daily Covid cases should peak by the end of August.
- The interruption to the economic recovery should not last beyond September; behavior will lag the data.
- Home price gains are slowing sharply as inventory rises and demand returns to pre-Covid levels.
July retail sales likely were barely troubled by the Covid Delta wave; the risks to August are bigger...
...Mobility data suggest that retail footfall is declining in the hardest-hit Southeastern quadrant of the U.S.
Manufacturing output likely rebounded in July, but the rate of recovery in the sector is moderating.
The reopening spike in the core CPI has peaked, though food prices will keep rising strongly for a while.
The Delta variant continues to drive up Covid cases, but the rate of increase is slowing steadily.
People have responded to the surge by travelling less; airlines, restaurants, hotels all feeling the pain.
For most of the decade before the pandemic, core CPI inflation ran a few tenths higher than core PCE inflation, mostly because rents, which are twice as important in the core CPI, rose faster than broad inflation.
The strong June retail sales numbers don't prove anything, but they are consistent with the idea that people have sufficient resources, and sufficient inclination, to maintain—at least—their spending on goods, even as spending on reopening services surges.
Fed Chair Powell will doubtless be quizzed in some detail today about the implications of yesterday's startling CPI numbers for June.
In one line: Startling, again, but mostly Covid-driven.
We're expecting the third straight outsized jump in the core CPI when the June report is released today.
We find ourselves at odds with a couple of ideas gaining currency among the commentariat, namely, that markets are becoming less worried about inflation risk, and that the rise in oil prices will materially slow the rate of U.S. economic growth.