Economic Indicators<br />Week of July 12 – July 16, 2010<br />National Association of Realtors® Research<br />Produced by NAR Research<br />
Weekly Economic Forecast<br />NAR's monthly official forecast as of July 1st<br />Produced by NAR Research<br />
Economic Updates<br />Tuesday, 07/13/10<br /><ul><li>The trade gap (which measures exports minus imports) increased in May, unexpectedly to $42.3 billion up from $40.3 billion in April. Imports rose more strongly than exports, causing the gap to widen.
However, the strong performance of the export market is good news from today’s data. Capital goods, consumer goods, industrial supplies, and automotive vehicles saw increases in exports. This data shows strengthening in the manufacturing sector.
Overall, imports were up 2.9 percent and exports were up 2.4 percent.</li></ul>Produced by NAR Research<br />
Economic Updates<br />Wednesday, 07/14/10<br /><ul><li>Mortgage purchase applications index fell 3.1 percent last week to a 14 year low. The refinancing index also fell, to 2.9 percent, thought it made up almost 80 percent of the mortgage activity. Purchase applications do not take into account all-cash purchases which make up about one quarter of transactions according to the latest REALTORS® Confidence Index.
Thirty-year mortgage rates skirted higher to 4.69 percent, but are still near the historical lows.
Overall retail sales in June contracted 0.5 percent, after shrinking 1.1 percent in May. The decline was largely driven by falling auto sales, followed by falling gasoline prices. </li></ul>Produced by NAR Research<br />
Thursday, 07/15/10<br />Economic Updates<br /><ul><li>Jobless claims fell 29,000 to 429,000. This sharp drop should be taken with a grain of salt as many auto makers take the month of July to re-tool production, pushing workers to take temporary unemployment claims, and muddy the water for this indicator. Still the 4-week average of jobless claims trended downward by 11,750.
The employment sector is pointed in the right direction, but is crawling towards its objective. A significant improvement in job creation is needed to whittle away the large reserve of unemployed and underemployed.
Employment issues will continue to weigh on buyer confidence and demand for home purchases.</li></ul>Produced by NAR Research<br />
Thursday, 07/15/10 (Cont’d)<br />Economic Updates<br /><ul><li>The Producer Price Index fell 0.5% from May to June. The decline was led by a 2.2% drop in food prices, while energy costs eased 0.5%. Excluding food and energy prices, the core index eased 0.1% on lower auto prices.
Lower cost of production will help producers to boost their margin, which in turn will help employment in the long-term. Lower costs also allow businesses to borrow more easily, reducing borrowing costs and pressure on mortgage rates.</li></ul>Produced by NAR Research<br />
Thursday, 07/15/10 (Cont’d)<br />Economic Updates<br /><ul><li>Industrial production rose just 0.1% in June, down from a 1.3% gain a month earlier. A sharp drop in automobile production led the softening of the June figure, but production of consumer goods was also down. One bright note is that production of business goods increased.
The softening of industrial production was no surprise. The question is whether it will rejuvenate in the coming months. Businesses need labor to produce goods and services and the economy is in desperate need of jobs.
The increase in production for businesses is an indication that producers feel that businesses are ready to spend, which in turn suggests that business are eyeing greater consumer demand and may ratchet up plans for hiring in the future.</li></ul>Produced by NAR Research<br />
Friday, 07/16/10 <br />Economic Updates<br /><ul><li>Headline consumer prices were down 0.1 percent in June due to declines in energy prices that offset a mild rise in core prices, those excluding food and energy. The relative stability (or mixed signals) in the price level gives the Fed room to maintain the current policy stance while economists debate whether inflation or deflation is the bigger threat going forward. The decline in the energy index is good news for consumers who will have to shell out less money to fill their gas tanks.
However, the consumer sentiment report from the University of Michigan suggests that despite the lower gas prices, consumer attitudes toward the current economic environment and the economic outlook have deteriorated somewhat. The overall index in July feel to the lowest level since August, nearly 1 year ago.</li></ul>Produced by NAR Research<br />