Prosperity Paradox: Navigating Commodity Markets in 2024
The world is still in the shadow of the Covid-19 pandemic, with inflation finally cooling and fiscal stimulus effects dwindling. As the Fed considers rate cuts, and geopolitical tensions impact commodities, there are unique opportunities available to investors.
Existing Home Sales Reach Five-Month High
Existing home sales jumped to a five-month high in January. According to the data from the National Association of Realtors (NAR), existing home sales rose 3.1% from December to reach a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.00 million units. This figure came in higher than the expected 3.96 million. Existing home sales are down 1.7% compared to one year ago.
Chicago Fed: Economic Growth Decreased in January
The Chicago Fed National Activity Index (CFNAI) dropped to -0.30 in January from +0.02 in December. Three of the four broad categories of indicators used to construct the index decreased from December and three categories made negative contributions in January. The index's three-month moving average, CFNAI-MA3, rose to -0.02 in January from -0.14 in December.
Unemployment Claims Down 12K, Lower Than Expected
In the week ending February 17, initial jobless claims were at a seasonally adjusted level of 201,000, a decrease of 12,000 from the previous week's revised figure. The latest reading is lower than the forecast of 217,000.
Fed Minutes Show Most Officials Flagged Risks of Cutting Rates Too Quickly
Minutes from the Federal Reserve’s latest gathering show most officials remained more worried about the risk of cutting interest rates too soon than keeping them high for too long and damaging the economy.
Gasoline Prices Rise for 4th Straight Week
Gas prices are up for a fourth straight week for the first time since August. As of February 21st, the prices of regular and premium gas increased 8 cents and 7 cents from the previous week, respectively. The WTIC end-of-day spot price for crude oil closed at $77.04, up 0.2% from last week.
A key economic mistake people make is thinking growth leads inflation. One reason they do that is because inflation is a monetary phenomenon. When money is too easy, first growth rises, and then inflation rises with a longer lag due to excess dollars in the system.