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 / Jun 26, 2021
Supply chain bottlenecks continue to cause pain-in-the-necks. In spite of all the difficulties, the Economic whizzes in the WF Economics team have upgraded their forecast for full-year 2021 U.S.
Wells Fargo Economics & Financial Report / May 19, 2020
The U.S. is in a severe recession caused by the sudden shutdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Since the lock down began, the nation has lost 21.4 million jobs.
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 / Nov 28, 2019
A series of U.K. general election polls released this week continue to show Boris Johnson’s Conservative Party with a significant lead over the opposition Labor Party.
Wells Fargo Economics & Financial Report / May 25, 2021
Over the past year, the housing market has become white-hot.
Wells Fargo Economics & Financial Report / Apr 27, 2022
I’ll wish you a Happy Earth Day anyway. Don’t expect a card this year. While the Earth continues to thankfully revolve at a steady rate, rising mortgage rates appear to be slowing residential activity
Wells Fargo Economics & Financial Report / Apr 11, 2020
The Federal Reserve greatly expanded the collateral that it is willing to buy, further easing pressures in financial markets.
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 / Sep 23, 2021
While we were picking up tree limbs from the yard, data released this week generally showed a stronger economy in August than many expected in the wake of surging COVID cases.
Wells Fargo Economics & Financial Report / Apr 04, 2020
Efforts to contain the virus are leading to millions of job losses and it’s likely only a matter of time before a majority of economic data reveal unprecedented declines.