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In order to address disruptions to the Treasury financing markets associated with the coronavirus outbreak, the Federal Reserve Bank of New York announced that it would provide $1.5 trillion on March 12th and 13th in the form of 3-month and 1-month securities. An additional $500 billion would be offered on Monday, with $1 trillion/week being offered as the program continues, and loans being paid back after their 1 or 3 month term. The announcement also outlined the broadening of the Federal Reserve’s ongoing $60 billion repurchase program across a wider range of Treasury security maturities.
Consumer prices increased +0.1% in February, and were up +2.3% for the year. The monthly increase was led by food prices, which were up +0.4% in their largest monthly increase since May 2014, and shelter prices which were up +0.3%. The food and shelter cost increases were offset by a -2.0% drop in energy prices. Core consumer prices, excluding both food and energy, were up +0.2% for the month and +2.4% for the year. On a yearly basis, core index prices dropped for used vehicles (-1.3%), and apparel (-0.9%), but rose sharply for medical care services (+5.3%), shelter (+3.3%), and medical commodities (+1.8%).
After increases of +0.2% in December and +0.5% in January, producer prices fell -0.6% in February, dropping to a +1.3% yearly increase from January’s +2.1% yearly rate. Goods prices were down -0.9%, and more than 60% of their monthly decline was due to a -3.6% drop in energy prices, which was itself due to a -6.5% drop in gasoline prices. Service prices were down -0.3%, and most of that was due to a -0.7% drop in trade services, which measure the margins received by wholesalers and retailers.
Tuesday March 17 – Retail Sales
Tuesday March 17 – Job Openings