|In the News
Retail sales rose 0.2% to $426.6 billion in August. This follows a 0.4% increase in July. Compared to August 2012, retail sales have increased 4.7%.
The producer price index, which tracks wholesale price inflation, rose 0.3% in August, following a flat reading in July. On a year-over-year basis, wholesale prices were up 1.4% in August. Core prices — excluding food and fuel — were unchanged in August.
The Mortgage Bankers Association said its seasonally adjusted composite index of mortgage applications for the week ending September 6 fell 13.5%. Purchase volume fell 3%. Refinancing applications decreased 20%.
Wholesalers increased their inventories 0.1% to $500 billion in July. Sales at the wholesale level also rose 0.1% to $426.1 billion in July. On a year-over-year basis, sales were 5.7% higher than July 2012. The seasonally adjusted wholesale inventories/sales ratio in July was 1.17.
The Reuters/University of Michigan consumer sentiment index for September’s preliminary reading fell to 76.8 from 82.1 in August.
Total business sales increased 0.6% to $1.293 trillion in July, up 4.6% from a year ago. Total business inventories rose 0.4% to $1.661 trillion in July, up 3.2% from a year ago. The total business inventories/sales ratio in July was 1.28.
Initial claims for unemployment benefits for the week ending September 7 fell by 31,000 to 292,000. Continuing claims for the week ending August 31 fell by 73,000 to 2.871 million, a new recovery low. The less volatile four-week average of claims for unemployment benefits was 321,250, the lowest level since October 2007.
Upcoming on the economic calendar are reports on the housing market index on September 17, housing starts on September 18and existing home sales on September 19.