The Economic Insights Channel

The Economy and Markets at Midyear: Is the Outlook Heating Up?

Coming off of a strong year for the economy and markets, we had high hopes for 2018, but the first half of the year didn’t play out as planned. Between the stock market pullback early in the year; the slowdown in economic growth; and rising risks, largely in trade, expectations softened. As we hit the midway point for 2018, though, it looks as if those initial hopes might be more realistic than they seemed even a month ago.

Underlying Inflation Gauge: June Update

Economists at the NY Federal Reserve Bank introduced a new measure of trend inflation in September 2017, the Underlying Inflation Gauge (UIG), meant to complement the current standard measures. Investors and policymakers alike have an interest in the behavior of inflation over longer time periods. The latest full set UIG for June is 3.33% while the prices-only measure is 2.32%. Current Headline CPI is now 2.87% and Core CPI is 2.26%.

Powell’s Testimony

Fed Chairman Jerome Powell will deliver his semi-annual monetary policy testimony to Congress on Tuesday and Wednesday, but he’s not expected to cover any new ground.

When Push Comes to Shove

A review of last month’s market-moving events across countries and asset classes.

Empire State Manufacturing Survey: Continued Growth in July at Brisk Pace

This morning we got the latest Empire State Manufacturing Survey. The diffusion index for General Business Conditions at 22.6 was a decrease of 2.4 from the previous month's 25.0. The forecast was for a reading of 22.0.

Inflation, Wage Growth & Fed Fund Rate

Fed Policy Normalization: Too little too late?

The Debt Train Will Crash

There’s going to be a train wreck here. Which train will go off which track is unclear, but something will. And we’re all going to feel it.

Agriculture Around the World

The Northern Trust economics team explores agriculture markets globally and in the United States.

Oil Takes Center Stage: Commodities Halftime Report 2018

Of the 14 major commodities we track at U.S. Global Investors, oil was the standout performer, gaining roughly 23 percent, followed by nickel (up 16.76 percent) and wheat (16.51 percent).

S&P 500 Snapshot: Up 1.5% WoW, 3.9% YTD

The S&P 500 started lower on Monday and had four days of gains, ending the week up 1.5% from last week. The index is up 3.91% YTD (based on Jan. 1) and is 2.94% below its record close.

A Long-Term Look at Inflation

The Consumer Price Index for Urban Consumers (CPI-U) released yesterday puts the year-over-year inflation rate at 2.87%. It is below the 3.76% average since the end of the Second World War and above its 10-year moving average, now at 1.61%.

Inflation: An X-Ray View of the Components

Here is a table showing the annualized change in Headline and Core CPI, not seasonally adjusted, for each of the past six months. Also included are the eight components of Headline CPI and a separate entry for Energy, which is a collection of sub-indexes in Housing and Transportation. We can make some inferences about how inflation is impacting our personal expenses depending on our relative exposure to the individual components.

ECRI Weekly Leading Index Update

This morning's release of the publicly available data from ECRI puts its Weekly Leading Index (WLI) at 148.5, up 1.1 from the previous week. Year-over-year the four-week moving average of the indicator is now at 3.41%, down from 3.57% last week. The WLI Growth indicator is now at 1.5, also down from the previous week.

Michigan Consumer Sentiment: Preliminary Slips in July

The University of Michigan Preliminary Consumer Sentiment for July came in at 97.1, down 1.1 from the June Final reading. had forecast 98.1.

Munis and the Markets, June 2018

A brief monthly update on what's happening in the municipal bond market.