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The Conference Board’s Consumer Confidence Index® decreased in October to 102.5 (1985=100), down from September’s downwardly revised 107.8 reading. This followed two consecutive monthly gains. The Present Situation Index, which is based on consumers’ sentiment toward current business conditions and the labor market, tumbled to 138.9 from 150.2 the previous month. The expectations index, based on consumers’ six-month outlook for income, business, and labor market conditions also declined, down to 78.1 from 79.5 the previous month. A reading below 80 for the expectations index is considered recessionary. “Notably, concerns about inflation—which had been receding since July — picked up again” said Lynn Franco, Senior Director of Economic Indicators at The Conference Board. Gas and food prices were the primary drivers. The share of consumers planning to purchase homes, automobiles, and big-ticket appliances all increased, while vacation intentions cooled. The share of consumers that expected business conditions to improve increased to 19.2% from 18.6% the previous month, conversely 23.3% expected conditions to worsen, up from 21.9% in September.
The U.S. Census Bureau reported new home sales decreased 10.9% in September to a seasonally adjusted annualized rate of 603,000. August’s new home sales were revised down to 677,000 from an originally reported 685,000. Sales are down 17.6%, from a year ago when 732,000 new homes were sold. Sales decreased in the South (-20.2%), and West (-0.7%) while the Northeast reported a big increase (+56.0%) and the Midwest a modest jump (+4.6%). The regional year-over-year home sales figures were mixed – the West (-30.4%) and South (-19.3%) showed declining sales, while the Northeast (+25.8%) and Midwest (+10.6%) both reported in positive territory. The median price for a new home rose to $470,600, up 13.9% from a year ago. The median price in August was $435,800. There were 462,000 new homes for sale at the end of September, up from 457,000 the previous month. Houses under construction made up 43.7% of September’s new home sales, with homes not started accounting for 27.8%, and completed homes accounting for about 28.3%.
The first estimate of GDP for 2022 Q3 reported the economy grew at an annual rate of 2.6% and follows 1.6% Q1 and 0.6% Q2 contractions. The economic growth was fueled by a narrowing of the trade deficit. GDP gains also came from boosts in consumer spending, nonresidential fixed investment, and government spending. Offsetting the gains were declines in housing construction and business investment. Exports rose 14.4%. and imports shrank 6.9%, the shrinking trade gap added 2.8 percentage points to the headline number. Consumer spending – which makes more than two-thirds of GDP decelerated, increasing 1.4%, down from the 2% pace set in Q2. Business fixed investment fell 4.9%. Nonresidential fixed investment expanded 3.7%, with increases in equipment (+10.8%) and intellectual property products (+6.9%) partially offset by a decrease in structures (-15.3%). Residential investment, a gauge of homebuilding, dropped 26.4% and follows a 17.8% decrease in Q2, reflecting a slowdown in the housing market. Government spending expanded at a 2.4% annual rate. The personal consumption expenditures (PCE) price index, a measure of inflation used by the Fed, increased 4.2% in Q3, as compared to 7.3% in Q2. Excluding the more volatile food and energy prices, the PCE price index rose 4.5% in Q3 as compared to 4.7% in Q2.
Wednesday November 2 – Fed Interest Rate Decision
Friday November 4 – Unemployment Rate (October)
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