This Week's State Of The Economy - What Is Ahead? - 17 April 2020

By: Taro Chellaram /Wells Fargo Economics & Financial Report/Apr 18, 2020

This Week's State Of The Economy - What Is Ahead? - 17 April 2020

U.S. - The Terrible Data (and the Stimulus) Start to Arrive

  • Economic data from the early stages of the Great Shutdown have finally arrived, and they are as bad as feared. ‘Worst on record’ is about to become an all too common refrain in our commentary.
  • 22 million people—or nearly 15% of the U.S. workforce—have filed for unemployment insurance in the past four weeks.
  • Retail sales, industrial production and home builder confidence all posted historic declines, with the New York and Philly Fed indices pointing to even more pain in April.
  • Household relief checks began to arrive, and the $349 billion of PPP loans were exhausted. We think a reload is likely.

 

Global - BoC Follows the Fed; Chinese Growth Nosedives

  • The Bank of Canada met this week and adopted a series of market measures that mirrored the Federal Reserve’s efforts to dive into unexplored monetary policy territory to support the economy and financial markets.
  • Data released last night showed real GDP in China declined 6.8% year-over-year in the first quarter, easily the biggest contraction since the country began reporting official figures in 1992.
  • The Chinese data provided additional evidence that, unlike a typical recession, manufacturing is outperforming the consumer.



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The Leading Economic Index (“LEI”) continued to flash contraction as early signs of labor market weakening are starting to emerge. Meanwhile, a batch of housing data confirmed that a full-fledged housing market recovery is still far off.

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Retail sales fell 0.7% in December, the third straight monthly decline. Sales are still up 2.9% over the year, however.

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We added 850,00 jobs in June, but much of that was State governments school districts in some parts of the Country reopening just in time for summer break.

Economic Uncertainty Seems Removed Going Into The New Year 2020

The U.S. economy continues to expand, albeit at a moderate pace. The U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis reports U.S. gross domestic product (GDP) grew 2.1 percent in Q3/19.

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Personal consumption is still on track for a solid Q3, but retail sales declined in September for the first time in seven months.

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While small business enthusiasm appears to have stalled, as owners are concerned about their ability to continue to pass on higher costs to consumers, cautious enthusiasm around rookie Jeremy Pena’s start persists.

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The Producer Price Index (PPI) was a bit firm in April, rising 0.5% amid higher services prices, though it did come with slight downward revisions to prior month\'s data.

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The details were generally more favorable. The retail sectors hurt most by the pandemic saw gains in August, factory output is growing and soaring homebuilder confidence suggests soft construction data this week may be transitory.

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U.S. employers added 225K new workers to their payrolls in January, which handily beat expectations. But the factory sector shed jobs for the third time in four months, and net layoffs were reported for finance and retail as well.

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Economic data came in largely as expected this week and suggest continued economic recovery.


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