Today’s U.S. Data

January 18, 2012

Treasury international capital  (TIC) figures for November produced a more-than-fourfold increase in foreign net purchases of U.S. securities, 93% of which consisted of Treasury securities.  The strength of this demand produced solid net capital inflows on all three definitions.  The narrow long-term inflow jumped to $58.8 billion from $8.3 billion in October.  The long-term flow including stock swaps and other special acquisitions swung from a $5.2 billion outflow in October to a $44.4 billion inflow, and the broadest net capital flow including short-term maturities saw an even vaster swing from a $39.6 billion outflow to a $48.6 billion inflow.

Industrial production climbed 0.4% in December, slightly more than reversing November’s decline.  factory output increased 0.9% last month and by 3.7% from the end of 2010.  Non-auto manufacturing also rose by a solid 0.9%, showing good momentum at the turn of the year.  Capacity usage of 78.1% compared with 76.9% a year earlier.

Total PPI inflation slowed to 4.8% in December from 5.7% in November and a 2010 high in July of 7.1%.  Food and energy prices posted December-over-December gains of 6.1% and 8.4%, while core producer price inflation ended the year at 3.0%.  Average PPI inflation last year of 4.8% was the same as the on-year pace in the final month.  A 0.3% monthly increase in the core measure last month was a bit more than forecast.

Home builders continue to gain confidence according to the January NAHB index, which advanced to a 55-month high of 25 in January from 21 in December, 19 in November, 17 in October and 14 in September.  Confidence stagnated earlier in the year.  It helps that the 30-year fixed mortgage rate is only 4.06%.  Mortgage applications shot up 23% last week, their biggest gain in 16 months.

Chain store sales last week remained disappointing.  There was a drop from the first week of the month, and sales were only around 3% above year-earlier levels.

Copyright 2012, Larry Greenberg.  All rights reserved.  No secondary distribution without express permission.

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