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The US Energy Information Administration’s weekly petroleum status report listed a drop in crude oil stockpiles of 3.6 million barrels. This was the third consecutive weekly drop after reaching record high levels due to unseasonably warm weather in February, and the current 528.7 million barrel inventory is at the upper end of its average seasonal range. Compared to the same four week period last year, demand for motor gasoline was down by -1.8%, while demand for distillate fuel products and jet fuel were both up by +4.5% and +0.9%, respectively.
The Commerce Department’s March Advance Durable Goods report revised growth for new orders in February from +1.8% to +2.3%, but March’s growth came in below expectations at +0.7%. New aircraft orders were responsible for much of March’s increase, with orders excluding transportation coming in at a -0.2% decline. Growth for new core capital goods orders – excluding transportation and military – was positive for the third consecutive month at +0.2%.
In an advance estimate by the Bureau of Economic Analysis, 2017 Q1 GDP growth slowed to +0.7%, down from +2.1% in 2016 Q4. Contributing factors to the drop included slowdowns in consumer spending, especially for automobiles, and a drop in government spending at all levels. These drops were offset somewhat by an upturn in exports and accelerations in fixed investments. Excluding food and energy, Q1’s PCE price index was up +2.4% vs Q4’s +2.0%, and disposable personal income was up +3.4% in Q1 vs 4.1% in Q4.
Upcoming Economic Reports:
Monday May 1 – Personal Income and Outlays
Friday May 5 – Employment Situation
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