Your Economic Update For The Week of December 16, 2013.

The Mortgage Bankers Association said its seasonally adjusted composite index of mortgage applications for the week ending December 6 rose 1%. Purchase volume rose 1%. Refinancing applications increased 2%.

Retail sales rose 0.7% to $432.3 billion in November. This follows a 0.6% increase in October. Compared to a year ago, November retail sales have increased 4.7%.

Wholesalers increased their inventories 1.4% to $514.1 billion in October. Sales at the wholesale level rose 1% to $435.3 billion in October. On a year-over-year basis, sales were 6.4% higher than October 2012. The seasonally adjusted wholesale inventories/sales ratio in October 2013 was 1.18.

The producer price index, which tracks wholesale price inflation, fell 0.1% in November, following a 0.2% decrease in October. On a year-over-year basis, November wholesale prices were up 0.7%. Core prices — excluding food and fuel — rose 0.1% in November.

According to the Federal Reserve, monthly consumer credit debt rose $18.2 billion in October for a total credit debt level of $3.075 trillion. Revolving debt, which includes credit cards, increased $4.3 billion to $856.8 billion. That was the biggest gain since May. Non-revolving debt, including loans for cars, rose $13.9 billion to $2.219 trillion.

Factory orders fell $4.4 billion, or 0.9%, in October to a seasonally adjusted $486.9 billion. This follows a 1.8% increase in September. Excluding the volatile transportation sector, orders increased 0.004% in October.

Initial claims for unemployment benefits for the week ending December 7 rose by 68,000 to 368,000. Continuing claims for the week ending November 30 rose by 40,000 to 2.791 million. The less volatile four-week average of claims for unemployment benefits was 328,750.

Upcoming on the economic calendar are reports on housing starts on December 18 and existing home sales on December 19.

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