Economic Update – June 14, 2011

Retail sales rose 0.4% for the week ending June 4, according to the ICSC-Goldman Sachs index. On a year-over-year basis, retailers saw sales increase 2.5%.

The trade deficit decreased 6.7% to $43.7 billion in April from a revised $46.8 billion in March. Exports rose 1.3% to $175.6 billion. Imports decreased 0.4% to $219.2 billion.

Wholesalers increased their inventories 0.8% to $447.2 billion in April. This followed a 1.1% rise in March. Sales at the wholesale level rose 0.3% in April to $393.5 billion. On a year-over-year basis, sales were 14.4% higher since April 2010.

The Mortgage Bankers Association said its seasonally adjusted composite index of mortgage applications for the week ending June 3 fell 0.4%. Refinancing applications increased 1.3%. Purchase volume fell 4.4%.

Import prices rose 0.2% in May, following a revised 2.1% increase in April. On a year-over-year basis, import prices are up 12.5%. Export prices rose 0.2% in May. On a year-over-year basis, export prices are up 9%.

According to the Federal Reserve, consumer credit debt rose in April by $6.25 billion for a total credit level of $2.43 trillion. Figures for March were revised from an initial gain of $6 billion to a gain of $4.82 billion. Revolving debt, which includes credit cards, fell by $0.9 billion. Non-revolving debt, including loans for cars, rose by $7.2 billion.

Initial claims for unemployment benefits rose by 1,000 to 427,000 for the week ending June 4. Continuing claims for the week ending May 28 fell by 71,000 to 3.68 million.

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Economic Update – March 14, 2011

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The Mortgage Bankers Association said its seasonally adjusted composite index of mortgage applications for the week ending March 4 rose 15.5%. Refinancing applications increased 17.2%. Purchase volume rose 12.5%.

Wholesale inventories were at their highest level since November 2008, increasing 1.1% to $436.88 billion in January. This followed a revised 1.3% rise in December. Sales at the wholesale level rose 3.4% in January, the largest gain since November 2009.

Retail sales rose 1% to $387.1 billion in February after a 0.7% increase in January. It was the eighth straight monthly gain. On a year-over-year basis, retail sales rose 8.9%.

According to the Federal Reserve, consumer credit debt rose in January by $5.01 billion for a total credit level of $2.41 trillion. Figures for December were revised from an initial gain of $6.1 billion to a gain of $4.1 billion. Revolving debt, which includes credit cards, fell by $4.25 billion. Non-revolving debt, including loans for cars, rose by $9.26 billion.

The trade deficit increased 15.1% to $46.3 billion in January from $40.3 billion in December. Economists had expected a trade deficit of $40 billion. Exports rose 2.7% to $167.7 billion. Imports increased 5.2% to $214.1 billion.

Total business inventories rose 0.9% in January to $1.45 trillion, up 9.1% from a year ago. Total business sales increased 2% to $1.17 trillion in January, up 10.8% from a year ago.

Initial claims for unemployment benefits rose by 26,000 to 397,000 for the week ending March 5. Continuing claims for the week ending February 26 fell by 20,000 to 3.77 million.

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