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EH Update: Current Economic Events
- Three regional Fed surveys all showed unexpected weakness in manufacturing and business activity.
- Weekly jobless claims are rising and, on a four-week average basis, are now at their highest level since last April.
- Energy prices pushed consumer inflation down -0.1% m/m to +0.7% y/y in December 2015 but prices excluding food and energy gained 0.1% to 2.1% y/y, the highest in over three years.
- Similarly, house prices showed a hint of inflation, rising a very strong +0.9% m/m in November to 5.8% y/y. Other housing data have been erratic. Existing home sales have been distorted by a change in mortgage lending rules, which caused November sales to drop -10.5% m/m only to be offset by a rebound of +14.7% m/m in December.
- Taken together the m/m rate is only +1.3%. December housing starts and permits fell -2.5% m/m and -3.9% m/m, respectively. Consumer confidence was resilient in January, rising to a strong 98.1 from 96.3, although actual spending remains tepid.