Author Archives: The Economic Minds Team

Russian Troops in Crimea Trigger “Flight To Safety”

A global “flight to safety” is taking place in financial markets since Russia took de facto military control over the Ukrainian southern peninsula of Crimea over the weekend. Equities were hit in Asia, Europe and emerging markets overnight, while Treasury bonds rallied. Financial markets in Russia were hit even harder. Oil prices have also risen, [...]

Home Sales Lose Steam in December

Existing-home sales at the end of the year were lackluster; on the national level, sales increased 1.0% in December. Regionally, sales activity picked up in the South and West, but fell in the Midwest and Northeast. Cash purchasers and individual investors still comprised a large proportion of overall sales, 32% and 21%, respectively. These numbers [...]

Higher Fuel Prices Boost Import/Export Prices

Import prices jumped 0.6% in January after dropping sharply during the last two months of 2012. A large jump in fuel prices accounted for much of that gain. Non-fuel import prices edged up a much-more-modest 0.2% after declining during the previous two months. Vehicle prices were up, as promotions to boost end-of-year sales were rolled [...]

Retail Sales Tepid in January

Retail sales rose a tepid 0.1% in January, as declines in vehicle and furniture sales offset increases elsewhere. Much of the strength in retail spending at the end of 2012 was concentrated in vehicles and big-ticket items as victims of Superstorm Sandy began the process of repairing and replacing damaged cars, furniture and appliances. Spending [...]

Japan enters the age of QE

Japan’s move toward quantitative easing (QE) is a revolutionary step for that country, and a step that will have broad economic and political implications, as the decision was taken despite an older population living on fixed-income pensions and deeply concerned about inflation.  Japan had made efforts during the past 20 years but never radically departed [...]

GDP Contracts in Q4 2012

Real GDP fell 0.1%, much weaker than the already weak estimates for the fourth quarter. Inventories, government spending and exports all declined. This is likely to be a disappointment for markets and analysts, who expected a meager growth rate below 1.0%. The drop in inventories was mostly due to the residual drop in farm stocks [...]

Chicago’s Evans Rules the December Fed Meeting

As we expected, the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) continued its open-ended commitment to purchase new, mortgage-backed securities at $40 billion per month and initially replace “Operation “Twist” with a program to purchase long-term bonds at a pace of $45 billion per month. In addition, the Federal Reserve will continue to replace any maturing, mortgage-backed [...]

Weekly Jobless Claims Move Higher

Weekly jobless claims moved higher, up 15,000 to 382,000 for the week ended September 8. That is still almost 40,000 fewer than a year ago. The 4-week moving average rose 3,250 to 375,000; that is still considerably lower than it was at this time last year.

Weekly Jobless Claims Drop Slightly

Weekly jobless claims dropped slightly, which also supports a better employment report on Friday. For the previous week, the level of claims was adjusted slightly higher to 377,000. The 4-week moving average increased just 250 to  371,250. The chart above compares weekly jobless claims to a 4-week moving average to smooth out the trend and [...]

Germany Blinks, Europe Delivers: More Needed

The European Union (EU) has agreed to provide emergency aid to both Spain and Italy via the European Stability Mechanism (ESM), the euro area’s permanent bailout fund. The emergency provisions were agreed to under heavy pressure from Spain and Italy, and will not require additional austerity measures, which had been a major sticking point for the [...]