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The International Trade report announced that the trade deficit shrunk by $1.2 billion in goods, and $0.3 billion in services to $44.3 billion for December. Durable goods exports, led by civilian aircraft and airplane engines, helped raise exports by 2.7%, outpacing the 1.5% import increase, which included increases in automobile imports. The overall trade deficit for 2016 increased 0.4% to $502.3 billion, its highest level since 2012, but the deficit as a percent of GDP shrunk by 0.1% to 2.7%.
The Energy Information Administration’s (EIA) Petroleum Status Report for the week ending Feb. 3 posted an unexpectedly large jump of 13.8 million barrels for crude oil inventories, with a Y/Y gain of 8.1%. However, drops in inventories for finished products, such as gasoline and propane, brought total commercial petroleum inventories to a 1.4 million barrel gain for the week. Averaged over the last four week period, total products supplied were up 0.3% Y/Y, but motor gasoline was down by 6.0% Y/Y.
Initial jobless claims for the week ending Feb. 4 came in at 234,000, beating an expected 250,000. The 4-week moving average for initial claims dropped to 244,250, its lowest level since Nov. 1973. The insured unemployment rate for the week ending Jan. 28 was unchanged at 1.5%. While ongoing claims rose by 15,000 to 2,078,000, claims had dropped 7% from the prior year’s 2,234,000.
Wednesday February 15 — Consumer Price Index
Thursday February 16 — Housing Starts