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Increases in the cost of energy (+1.3%), medical services (+0.5%) and shelter (+0.3%) helped push the consumer price index up by +0.3% in July, bringing year over year CPI inflation up to 1.8% (+0.1%). A +2.5% hike in gasoline prices, up from a -3.6% drop the previous month, drove the increase in energy costs for the month but yearly prices were down -3.3% for gasoline and -2.0% for energy overall. On a yearly basis shelter prices increased the most (+3.5%), followed by medical care services (+3.3%), and food away from home (+3.2%), while yearly prices dropped the most for fuel oil (-6.0%), gasoline (-3.3%), and piped gas (-2.9%). Price gains for used vehicles outpaced new vehicles, with used vehicles up +0.9% for the month and +1.5% Y/Y versus new vehicle prices down -0.2% for the month and up +0.3% Y/Y.
Retail sales surged by a higher than expected +0.7% in July with gains in all categories except sporting goods/hobby stores (-1.1%), motor vehicles (-0.6%), and health/personal care stores (-0.2%). Nonstore (e.g. online) retailers led gains with a +2.8% increase for the month and were up +16.0% for the year, followed by a +1.8% gain for gasoline stations, although they were down -2.3% Y/Y. Department store sales grew +1.2% for the month after a -1.1% drop in June, but still remained at a -4.7% decline for the year. Sales excluding the volatile motor vehicle and gas station components were up +0.9% for the month and +4.2% for the year.
Industrial production was revised upwards from flat to +0.2% growth in June, but fell -0.2% in July, dropping year over year growth to +0.5% from +1.3% in June. Mining fell -1.8% for the month and capacity utilization dropped 2% to 89.2%, but this was deemed a temporary decline due to Hurricane Barry’s impact on oil extraction in the Gulf of Mexico, and mining was up +5.5% on a yearly basis. Manufacturing dropped by -0.4% for the month, and capacity utilization fell -0.4% to 75.4%, continuing a trend that has led to more than -1.5% in production declines since December 2018. The only sizeable gains in durable goods manufacturing were in aerospace/miscellaneous transportation equipment (+1.4%) while notable drops were seen for nonmetallic mineral products (-1.1%), machinery (-1.1%), and primary metals (-1.0%). Other than paper products at a +1.3% gain, all nondurable categories fell with the steepest drops for plastics/rubber products (-1.6%), textile and product mills (-1.4%), and printing (-1.0%).
Wednesday August 21 – FOMC Minutes
Friday August 23 – New Home Sales