In the News
The trade deficit increased to $42.2 billion in October from a revised $40.3 billion in September. Exports fell $6.8 billion or 3.6% to $180.5 billion. Imports decreased $4.9 billion or 2.1% to $222.8 billion.
Wholesalers increased their inventories 0.6% to $497.1 billion in October. Sales at the wholesale level fell 1.2% to $408.5 billion in October. On a year-over-year basis, sales were 2.3% higher since October 2011.
The Mortgage Bankers Association said its seasonally adjusted composite index of mortgage applications for the week ending December 7 rose 6.2%. Purchase volume rose 1%. Refinancing applications increased 8%.
The producer price index, which tracks wholesale price inflation, fell 0.8% in November, following a 0.2% decrease in October. On a year-over-year basis, wholesale prices were up 1.5% in November. Core prices — excluding food and fuel — rose 0.1% in November.
Retail sales rose 0.3% to $412.4 billion in November. This follows a 0.3% decrease in October. Compared to November 2011, retail sales have increased 3.7%.
Total business inventories rose 0.4% in October to $1.619 trillion, up 5.7% from a year ago. Total business sales decreased 0.4% to $1.257 trillion in October, up 3.1% from a year ago. The total business inventories/sales ratio in October was 1.29.
Consumer prices fell 0.3% in November, following a downwardly revised 0.2% decrease in October. Compared to November 2011, consumer prices have risen 1.8%. Consumer prices at the core rate — excluding volatile food and energy prices — were up 0.1% in November.
Initial claims for unemployment benefits for the week ending December 8 fell by 29,000 to 343,000. Continuing claims for the week ending December 1 fell by 23,000 to 3.271 million.
Upcoming on the economic calendar are reports on housing starts on December 19 and existing home sales on December 20.