On balance, this week's indicator performance came in slightly better than expected, supporting economic resilience so far through the fourth quarter even as the headwinds of elevated inflation, tightening monetary policy and heightened uncertainty about the outlook remain firmly intact. While supportive to the sustainability of the economic expansion, the stronger-than-expected performance makes the Fed's job of taming inflation that much more difficult.
The first piece of encouraging news this week was the lower-than-expected gain in producer prices. In line with last week's CPI performance, the headline PPI increased 0.2% sequentially, two-tenths below expectations. The more moderate pace of price gains cooled the year-over-year rate for the fourth straight month, dropping 0.5 percentage points to a still elevated 8.0%. October's headline increase reflected a 0.6% rise in final demand goods prices (about 60% of this increase can be traced to a 5.7% gain in gasoline) as final demand services prices slipped 0.1%, marking the first monthly drop since November 2020. While showing prices are beginning to head in the right direction, inflation is still running at an unacceptably high pace for the Fed. Yet another similar, downward trending performance from the November CPI report next month may provide enough evidence for the Fed to pull back on the pace of rate hikes as it seeks to bring down inflation markedly.
Highlighting the resiliency of the U.S. consumer, total retail sales increased a stronger-than-expected 1.3% in October, boosted, in part, by a 1.3% jump in motor vehicles & parts and a 4.1% rise at gasoline stations. Excluding the aforementioned and building materials and food, control group sales—which feed into the personal consumption expenditures component of GDP—increased by a strong 0.7% last month, on top of upward revisions to September and August. It is clear consumers are willing to run down savings and accumulate credit card debt in order to maintain their current pace of spending. The strong start to the current quarter suggests upside risk to our 6% year-over-year holiday shopping spending call and, in turn, Q4 consumer spending and GDP growth. Indeed, the Atlanta Fed GDPNow model currently projects Q4 U.S. real GDP growth at a 4.2% annualized rate.
Wells Fargo Economics & Financial Report / Jan 18, 2022
As you may have already seen, inflation is running almost as hot as the stock of our favorite bank. The Consumer Price Index (CPI) rose 7.0% year-over-year in December, the fastest increase in nearly 40 years.
Wells Fargo Economics & Financial Report / Apr 26, 2021
This week\'s lighter economic calendar allowed forecasters more time to assess the implications from the prior week\'s blowout retail sales report.
Wells Fargo Economics & Financial Report / May 25, 2020
The re-opening of the country is getting underway, with all 50 states starting to roll back restrictions.
Wells Fargo Economics & Financial Report / Jun 18, 2020
The Fed expects to hold interest rates near zero through the end of this year, perhaps well into next year, and maybe even into ’22.
Wells Fargo Economics & Financial Report / Aug 24, 2021
The Wells Fargo Economics team notes in the Commentary that new COVID cases in New Zealand disrupted the Reserve Bank of New Zealand\'s plan to tighten monetary policy this week.
Wells Fargo Economics & Financial Report / Nov 23, 2019
Minutes from the October FOMC meeting indicated the Fed is content to remain on the sidelines for the rest of this year as the looser financial conditions resulting from rate cuts at three consecutive meetings feed through to the economy.
Wells Fargo Economics & Financial Report / Oct 05, 2019
Survey evidence flashed signs of contraction in the manufacturing sector and indicated weakness spreading to the services side of the economy, while employers added a less-than-expected 136K jobs in September.
Wells Fargo Economics & Financial Report / Aug 19, 2021
The general outlook remains positive as households have accumulated over $2T in excess savings on their balance sheets and net worth has risen across all income groups.
Wells Fargo Economics & Financial Report / Jun 22, 2020
Retail sales kicked off the week with a bang, rising 17.7% month-over-month in May. The increase was larger than every single one of the 74 forecast submissions.
Wells Fargo Economics & Financial Report / Jan 11, 2020
The week began amid rising tensions carrying over from the U.S. killing of Iranian General Qasem Soleimani last Friday.