US Economy and Credit Markets Ended April 17, 2020
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Last week saw oil fall under $20/bbl, gold continuing to spike higher, and Treasury prices rise. Most noteworthy in economic news is the stunning rise in unemployment claims. Initial jobless claims averaged between 200-300 thousand per week in the three weeks ending on March 14. In the four initial jobless claims reports March 21st through April 11th, over 21 million workers have filed claims. Monday saw the Consumer Price Index declining 0.4% in March, led by a 5.8% decline in energy prices. Food prices were up slightly and Core CPI, excludes food and fuel, declined 0.1% in March. Wednesday's Retail Sales data slid meaningfully by 8.7%. Expectations were for an 8% decline. Declines were led by lower sales in auto, restaurants & bars, clothing & accessory stores, and gas stations. Industrial Production was also reported falling on Wednesday. It declined 5.4% versus an expected fall of 4.0%. Manufacturing, which excludes mining/utilities, declined 6.3% in March. Auto production dropped 28.0%, while non-auto manufacturing fell 4.5%. Headline industrial production and its manufacturing subcomponent plunged 5.4% and 6.3% respectively. Last week ended with Friday's Housing Starts reporting a precipitous decline of 22.3% in March. Major economic reports (related consensus forecasts, prior data) for the upcoming week include Tuesday: March Existing Home Sales (5.3M, 5.77M); Wednesday: April 17 MBA Mortgage Applications, April 18 Initial Jobless Claims (4,500K, 5,245K), April preliminary Markit US Manufacturing PMI (36.0, 48.5), and March New Home Sales (642K, 765K); Thursday: March preliminary Durable Goods Orders (-12.0%, 1.2%); Friday: April final University of Michigan Sentiment (67.9, 71.0).
Posted on Monday, April 20, 2020 @ 8:39 AM

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