This morning's release of the January Existing-Home Sales increased from the previous month to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.69 million units from an upwardly revised 5.51 million in December. The Investing.com consensus was for 5.54 million. The latest number represents a 3.3% increase from the previous month and a 3.8% increase year-over-year.
The Department of Energy's Energy Information Administration (EIA) monthly data on volume sales is several weeks old when it released. The latest numbers, through mid-December, are now available. However, despite the lag, this report offers an interesting perspective on fascinating aspects of the US economy. Gasoline prices and increases in fuel efficiency are important factors, but there are also some significant demographic and cultural dynamics in this data series.
We've updated this series to include last week's release of the Consumer Price Index as the deflator and the January monthly update. The latest hypothetical real (inflation-adjusted) annual earnings are at $36,691, down 13.7% from 44 years ago.
It's time again for our weekly gasoline update based on data from the Energy Information Administration (EIA). The price of Regular and Premium are unchanged from last week. According to GasBuddy.com, Hawaii has the highest average price for Regular at $3.10 and San Francisco is the most expensive city, averaging $3.01. South Carolina has the cheapest at $2.02. The WTIC end of day spot price closed at 54.33, up 1.40 from this time last week.
The Latest Conference Board Leading Economic Index (LEI) for January increased to 125.5 from a revised 124.7 in December. The last two months were revised. The latest indicator value beat the month-over-month 0.5 percent increase forecast by Investing.com.
Over the long haul the two series offer a compelling study of trends in residential real estate. Here is an overlay of the two series since the 1959 inception of the Starts data and the Permits data, which began being tracked a year later. The monthly data points are preserved as faint dots. The trends are illustrated with 6-month moving averages of data divided by the Census Bureau's mid-month population estimates.
The latest Manufacturing Index came in at 43.3, up from last month's 23.6. The 3-month moving average came in at 28.9, up from 17.3 last month. Since this is a diffusion index, negative readings indicate contraction, positive ones indicate expansion. The Six-Month Outlook came in at 53.5, a decrease over the previous month's 56.6. Today's 43.3 came in well above the 18.0 forecast at Investing.com.
The Consumer Price Index for Urban Consumers (CPI-U) released yesterday morning puts the year-over-year inflation rate at 2.50%. It is below the 3.77% average since the end of the Second World War but above its 10-year moving average, now at 1.77%.
The U.S. Census Bureau and the Department of Housing and Urban Development have now published their findings for January new residential building permits. The latest reading of 1.285M was an increase from 1.228M in December and below the Investing.com forecast of 1.230M. December was revised upward by 18K.
The U.S. Census Bureau and the Department of Housing and Urban Development have now published their findings for January new residential housing starts. The latest reading of 1.246M was above the Investing.com forecast of 1.222M. The December count was revised upward by 53K.