This Week's State Of The Economy - What Is Ahead? - 16 August 2019

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Markets gyrated this week as the spread between the ten- and two year Treasurys turned negative for the first time since 2007. Financial markets seem to expect that the sharp slowdown in growth overseas will soon spread to the United States.  Economic data this week, however, continued to say otherwise. Retail sales again beat expectations, rising 0.7% in July. Sales were boosted by the 2.8% surge at non-store retailers (read: Amazon Prime Day,) but were broad-based. Ten of 13 categories posted increases, while core sales jumped 1.0%. Consumer confidence may get another boost heading into the holiday season on news Tuesday that the administration will delay the imposition of  10% tariffs on approximately $155 billion of imports from China that were scheduled to go into effect September 1. The exempted products—electronics, toys, etc.—suggest the delay is intended to shield consumers from a tariff-related surge in prices just before the gift-giving season—and to shield the administration from political blowback. The consumer—which comprises roughly  70% of the economy—has been carrying the weight the past few quarters, and to a large extent has avoided much of a spillover from all the trade uncertainty. 

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