Your Weekly Economic Update January 14, 2013

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Retail sales fell 4.2% for the week ending January 5, according to the ICSC-Goldman Sachs index. On a year-over-year basis, retailers saw sales increase 4%.

According to the Federal Reserve, monthly consumer credit debt rose $16 billion in November for a total credit debt level of $2.768 trillion. Revolving debt, which includes credit cards, increased $0.8 billion to $858.4 billion. Non-revolving debt, including loans for cars, rose $15.2 billion to $1.910 trillion.

The Mortgage Bankers Association said its seasonally adjusted composite index of mortgage applications for the week ending January 4 rose 11.7%. Purchase volume rose 10%. Refinancing applications increased 12%.

Wholesalers increased their inventories 0.6% to $498.9 billion in November. Sales at the wholesale level rose 2.3% to $419.3 billion in November. On a year-over-year basis, sales were 5.6% higher since November 2011.

The trade deficit increased to $48.7 billion in November from a revised $42.1 billion in October. Exports rose $1.7 billion or 1% to $182.6 billion. Imports increased $8.4 billion or 3.8% to $231.3 billion.

Import prices fell 0.1% in December, following a 0.8% decrease in November. On a year-over-year basis, import prices were down 1.5% in December. Export prices fell 0.1% in December after declining 0.7% in November. Compared to a year ago, export prices were up 1.1% in December.

Initial claims for unemployment benefits for the week ending January 5 rose by 4,000 to 371,000. Continuing claims for the week ending December 29 fell by 127,000 to 3.109 million, the lowest level since July 2008. The less volatile four-week average of claims for unemployment benefits was 365,750.

Upcoming on the economic calendar are reports on retail sales on January 15, the housing market index on January 16 and housing starts on January 17.

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