Economic Update

In the News


The Mortgage Bankers Association said its seasonally adjusted composite index of mortgage applications for the week ending September 7 rose 11.1%. Refinancing applications increased 12%. Purchase volume rose 8%.

The trade deficit increased to $42 billion in July from a revised $41.9 billion in June. Exports fell $1.9 billion or 1% to $183.3 billion. Imports fell $1.8 billion or 0.8% to $225.3 billion.

Wholesalers increased their inventories 0.7% to $485.2 billion in July. Sales at the wholesale level fell 0.1% to $402.4 billion in July. On a year-over-year basis, sales were 2.7% higher since July 2011.

The producer price index, which tracks wholesale price inflation, rose 1.7% in August, following a 0.3% increase in July. Compared to August 2011, wholesale prices have risen 2%. Core prices — excluding food and fuel — rose 0.2% in August.

Retail sales rose 0.9% to $406.7 billion in August. This follows a revised 0.6% increase in July. Compared to August 2011, retail sales have increased 4.7%.

Consumer prices rose 0.6% in August, following a flat reading in July. Compared to August 2011, consumer prices have risen 1.7%. Consumer prices at the core rate — excluding volatile food and energy prices — were up 0.1% in August.

Industrial production at the nation’s factories, mines and utilities fell 1.2% in August after a 0.5% rise in July. Compared to August 2011, industrial production has increased 2.8%. Capacity utilization eased to 78.2% in August from 79.2% in July.

Initial claims for unemployment benefits for the week ending September 8 rose by 15,000 to 382,000. Continuing claims for the week ending September 1 fell by 49,000 to 3.282 million.

Upcoming on the economic calendar are reports on the housing market index on September 18, and existing home sales and housing starts on September 19.

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