Archive for September, 2019

US New Home Sales Month over Month August 2019

US New Home Sales Rise More than Expected

Sales of new single-family houses in the United States jumped 7.1 percent from the previous month to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 713 thousand in August 2019, following a revised 8.6 percent slump in July and easily beating market expectations of a 3.5 percent increase.

July’s sales pace was revised higher to 666 thousand units from the previously reported 635 thousand units.

New home sales, which account for about 11.5 percent of housing market sales, were up in the South (6.0 percent to 426 thousand) and West (16.5 percent to 191 thousand), but dropped in the Midwest (-3.0 percent to 64 thousand) and Northeast (-5.9 percent to 32 thousand).

The median new house price rose 2.2 percent from a year earlier to USD 328.4 thousand in August. The average sales price jumped 6.1 percent to USD 404.2 thousand.

The stock of new houses for sale declined 1.2 percent from the previous month to 326 thousand, the lowest since September 2018. At August’s sales pace it would take 5.5 months to clear the supply of houses on the market, down from 5.9 months in July.

Year-on-year, new home sales surged 18.0 percent.

Fed Rate Decision 9-18-19

Fed Cuts Rates Despite Disagreement Among Policymakers

The Federal Reserve lowered the target range for the federal funds rate to 1.75-2 percent on a 7-3 vote during its September meeting. It was the second rate cut this year, amid global growth concerns and muted inflation pressures.


Median Fed policymaker projection is for no further rate cuts in 2019 but seven of 17 policymakers saw one more cut as appropriate.

GDP forecasts were raised to 2.2 percent in 2019 (vs 2.1 percent previously estimated) and 1.9 percent in 2021 (vs 1.8 percent), while that for 2020 was unchanged at 2.0 percent. Inflation expectations were seen at 1.5 percent in 2019, 1.9 percent in 2020 and 2.0 percent in 2021, matching June’s projections.

Amid a breakdown this week in the overnight repurchase lending market, the Fed set interest on excess reserves rate at 1.80%, widening the spread from top of target range to 20 bp from 15 bp.


FOMC Statement:

Information received since the Federal Open Market Committee met in July indicates that the labor market remains strong and that economic activity has been rising at a moderate rate. Job gains have been solid, on average, in recent months, and the unemployment rate has remained low. Although household spending has been rising at a strong pace, business fixed investment and exports have weakened. On a 12-month basis, overall inflation and inflation for items other than food and energy are running below 2 percent. Market-based measures of inflation compensation remain low; survey-based measures of longer-term inflation expectations are little changed.

Consistent with its statutory mandate, the Committee seeks to foster maximum employment and price stability. In light of the implications of global developments for the economic outlook as well as muted inflation pressures, the Committee decided to lower the target range for the federal funds rate to 1-3/4 to 2 percent. This action supports the Committee’s view that sustained expansion of economic activity, strong labor market conditions, and inflation near the Committee’s symmetric 2 percent objective are the most likely outcomes, but uncertainties about this outlook remain. As the Committee contemplates the future path of the target range for the federal funds rate, it will continue to monitor the implications of incoming information for the economic outlook and will act as appropriate to sustain the expansion, with a strong labor market and inflation near its symmetric 2 percent objective.

In determining the timing and size of future adjustments to the target range for the federal funds rate, the Committee will assess realized and expected economic conditions relative to its maximum employment objective and its symmetric 2 percent inflation objective. This assessment will take into account a wide range of information, including measures of labor market conditions, indicators of inflation pressures and inflation expectations, and readings on financial and international developments.

Voting for the monetary policy action were Jerome H. Powell, Chair, John C. Williams, Vice Chair; Michelle W. Bowman; Lael Brainard; Richard H. Clarida; Charles L. Evans; and Randal K. Quarles. Voting against the action were James Bullard, who preferred at this meeting to lower the target range for the federal funds rate to 1-1/2 to 1-3/4 percent; and Esther L. George and Eric S. Rosengren, who preferred to maintain the target range at 2 percent to 2-1/4 percent.

Inflation Year over Year August 2019

US Core Inflation Rate Year over Year August 2019

The US core inflation rate, which excludes volatile items such as food and energy, rose to 2.4 percent in August 2019, the highest in a year and above market consensus of 2.3 percent. Core Inflation Rate in the United States averaged 3.61 percent from 1957 until 2019, reaching an all time high of 13.60 percent in June of 1980 and a record low of 0 percent in May of 1957.

Calendar GMT Actual Previous Consensus TEForecast
2019-06-12 12:30 PM Core Inflation Rate YoY May 2% 2.1% 2.1% 2.1%
2019-07-11 12:30 PM Core Inflation Rate YoY Jun 2.1% 2% 2% 2%
2019-08-13 12:30 PM Core Inflation Rate YoY Jul 2.2% 2.1% 2.1% 2.1%
2019-09-12 12:30 PM Core Inflation Rate YoY Aug 2.4% 2.2% 2.3% 2.2%
2019-10-10 12:30 PM Core Inflation Rate YoY Sep 2.4% 2.4%
2019-11-13 01:30 PM Core Inflation Rate YoY Oct 2.3%
2019-12-11 01:30 PM Core Inflation Rate YoY Nov 2.1%


US Inflation Rate Falls Unexpectedly in August

The US annual inflation rate fell to 1.7 percent in August 2019 from 1.8 percent in the previous month and below market consensus of 1.8 percent.


Food inflation stood at 1.7 percent in August, little-changed from 1.8 percent in July, as costs of food at home rose at a slower pace (0.5 percent vs 0.6 percent). Additional price increases were recorded for transportation services (0.9 percent vs 0.7 percent); medical care services (4.3 percent vs 3.3 percent); shelter (3.4 percent vs 3.5 percent); apparel (1.0 percent vs -0.5 percent); medical care commodities (0.1 percent vs -0.4 percent); new vehicles (0.2 percent vs 0.3 percent); and used cars and trucks (2.1 percent vs 1.5 percent).

Energy prices tumbled 4.4 percent in August, following a 2.0 percent drop in the previous month. Within energy commodities, gasoline cost declined 7.1 percent (vs -3.3 percent in July) and fuel oil went down 8.4 percent (vs -6.0 percent in July). Within energy services, electricity prices fell 0.1 percent (vs 0.5 percent in July) and utility (piped) gas service cost slid 3.5 percent (vs -2.9 percent in July).

The core inflation rate, which excludes volatile items such as food and energy, rose to 2.4 percent in August, the highest in a year and above market consensus of 2.3 percent.

On a monthly basis, consumer prices advanced 0.1 percent in August, after a 0.3 percent gain in July and in line with market forecasts. Increases in shelter and medical care prices offset a decline in energy cost.


Calendar GMT Actual Previous Consensus TEForecast
2019-06-12 12:30 PM Inflation Rate YoY May 1.8% 2% 1.9% 1.9%
2019-07-11 12:30 PM Inflation Rate YoY Jun 1.6% 1.8% 1.6% 1.7%
2019-08-13 12:30 PM Inflation Rate YoY Jul 1.8% 1.6% 1.7% 1.7%
2019-09-12 12:30 PM Inflation Rate YoY Aug 1.7% 1.8% 1.8% 1.9%
2019-10-10 12:30 PM Inflation Rate YoY Sep 1.7% 1.9%
2019-11-13 01:30 PM Inflation Rate YoY Oct 1.7%
2019-12-11 01:30 PM Inflation Rate YoY Nov 1.8%


Unemployment Rate August 2019

US Jobless Rate Steady for 3rd Month at 3.7%

The US unemployment rate came in at 3.7 percent in August 2019, unchanged from the previous two month’s figures and in line with market expectations. The number of unemployed persons decreased by 19 thousand to 6.0 million while employment rose by 590 thousand to 157.9 million.

Among the major worker groups, the unemployment rates for adult men (3.4 percent), adult women (3.3 percent), teenagers (12.6 percent), Whites (3.4 percent), Blacks (5.5 percent), Asians (2.8 percent), and Hispanics (4.2 percent) showed little or no change in August.

The number of long-term unemployed (those jobless for 27 weeks or more) was little changed at 1.2 million in August and accounted for 20.6 percent of the unemployed.

In August, the labor force participation rate edged up to 63.2 percent in August but has shown little change, on net, thus far this year. The employment-population ratio, at 60.9 percent, also edged up over the month and is up by 0.6 percentage point over the year.

The number of persons employed part time for economic reasons (sometimes referred to as involuntary part-time workers) increased by 397,000 to 4.4 million in August; this increase follows a decline of similar magnitude in July. These individuals, who would have preferred full-time employment, were working part time because their hours had been reduced or they were unable to find full-time jobs.

In August, 1.6 million persons were marginally attached to the labor force, little different from a year earlier. (Data are not seasonally adjusted.) These individuals were not in the labor force, wanted and were available for work, and had looked for a job sometime in the prior 12 months. They were not counted as unemployed because they had not searched for work in the 4 weeks preceding the survey. Among the marginally attached, there were 467,000 discouraged workers in August, about unchanged from a year earlier. (Data are not seasonally adjusted.) Discouraged workers are persons not currently looking for work because they believe no jobs are available for them. The remaining 1.1 million persons marginally attached to the labor force in August had not searched for work for reasons such as school attendance or family responsibilities.