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The U.S Census Bureau reported that sales of newly built homes increased (+4.1%) in April from an downwardly revised March rate of 656,000. The report is the strongest reading since March 2022. The headline numbers show that while new home sales jumped, prices fell. The April seasonally adjusted annual rate of 683,000 is down (-11.8%) from a year earlier. The South lead the way in sales (+17.8%), followed by the Midwest (+11.8%). New home sales plummeted in the Northeast (-58.6%), followed by the West (-9.1%). The average sale price for a new home sold in April was $501,000, down from $559,200 the previous month. The median new home sales price dropped from $455,800 in March to $420,800 in April. There were 433,000 new homes for sale as of the end of April, the vast majority of which were either under construction (263,000) or not yet started (100,000). The supply of new homes for sale decreased to a 7.6-month supply in April, as compared to 7.9 months in March. The supply of new homes for sale in April 2022 was 8.5 months.
The minutes from the May FOMC meeting showed that the decision to raise the benchmark federal funds rate by 25 basis points was not unanimous. Some members commented “that progress in returning inflation to 2% could continue to be unacceptably slow”, while other participants noted that “if the economy evolved along the lines of their current outlooks, then further policy firming after this meeting may not be necessary.” The economic forecast was somewhat muted, as it assumed “that the effects of the expected further tightening in bank credit conditions, amid already tight financial conditions, would lead to a mild recession starting later this year, followed by a moderately paced recovery”. Almost all participants noted that the downside risks to growth and the upside risks to unemployment had increased as recent banking-sector developments could lead to a tightening of credit. Almost all participants stated that “with inflation still well above the Committee’s longer-run goal and the labor market remaining tight, upside risks to the inflation outlook remained a key factor shaping the policy outlook”. A few participants commented that “they also saw some downside risks to inflation”.
The Bureau of Economic Analysis’ second estimate on first-quarter gross domestic product (GDP) growth reported an economy expanding at a seasonally adjusted annual growth rate of 1.3%, a deceleration from the 2.6% pace set in the fourth quarter, and up slightly from the first estimate of 1.1%. A revision in inventories was a primary contributor to the upward revision, as the growth in inventories contracted by $129.6B instead of the originally reported $138.0B. The inventory slowdown took 2.10 percentage points off the headline number instead of he originally reported 2.26 percentage points. Business investment increased an upwardly revised (+1.4%) and followed a (+4.0%) reading in the prior quarter. Business investment added 0.18 percentage points to the headline number. Consumer spending as measured by personal consumption expenditures was strong, increasing an upwardly revised (+3.8%), up from (+1.0%), the previous quarter. Government consumption expenditures were upwardly revised to (+5.2%) and added 0.89 percentage points to the headline number. The personal consumption expenditures price index, a closely watched measure of inflation by the Federal Reserve, was unrevised (+4.2%), as compared to (+3.7%), (+4.3%), (+7.3%), and (+7.5%) over the previous four quarters. Core personal consumption expenditures, which strips out food and energy, increased an upwardly revised (+5.0%), as compared to (+4.4%), (+4.7%), (+4.7), and (+5.6%) over the four previous quarters.
Thursday June 1 – ISM Manufacturing PMI (May)
Friday June 2 – Unemployment Rate (May)
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