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US Data: Highlights of MNI Survey of Economic Forecasts

     WASHINGTON (MNI) - The following are highlights of forecasts for   
upcoming U.S. economic indicators provided by participants in the MNI   
weekly survey. The comment section presents the key elements behind the 
median forecasts.       
Weekly Jobless Claims for January 6 week                                
 Thursday, January 11 at 8:30 a.m. ET                     Actual:       
                 Median         Range                Jan07  Dec30  Dec23
 Weekly Claims     245k     240k to 252k                --   250k   247k
     Comments: The level of initial jobless claims is expected to fall  
by 5,000 to 245,000 in the January 6 New Year's week, reversing the     
previous week's gain that lifted the four-week moving average by 3,500  
to 241,750. The four-week moving average would rise by 5,000 in the     
coming week, a fourth straight gain, as a 225,000 level in the December 
9 week drops out of the calculation, assuming the MNI forecast is       
correct and there are no revisions.                                     
Producer Price Index for December (percent change)                      
 Thursday, January 11 at 8:30 a.m. ET                    Actual:        
                 Median         Range                Dec17  Nov17  Oct17
 Final Demand     +0.2%      Flat to +0.3%              --  +0.4%  +0.4%
 Ex Food,Energy   +0.2%     +0.1% to +0.2%              --  +0.3%  +0.4%
     Comments: Final demand PPI is expected to rise 0.2% in December    
after 0.4% increases in the previous three months. Energy prices are    
expected to decline after a 4.6% gasoline-led surge in November, while  
food prices are expected to rise further after 0.3% gain. Excluding food
and energy prices, PPI is forecast to rise 0.2% after an                
above-expectation 0.3% increase in the previous month that came despite 
a decline in trade services prices. Excluding trade services as well as 
food and energy, PPI is expected to rise modestly.                      
Treasury Statement for December ($ billions)                            
 Thursday, January 11 at 2:00 p.m ET                     Actual:        
             Median           Range              Dec17    Nov17    Dec16
 Balance    -$37.5b      -$54.0b to -$21.0b         -- -$138.5b  -$27.3b
     Comments: The Treasury is expected to post a $37.5 billion budget  
gap in December, up from the $27.3 billion gap in December 2016.        
Transfer payments from January shifted in December due to January 1     
being a holiday, but as this was the case in both 2016 and 2017, the    
comparison should still be valid.                                       
Retail and Food Sales for December (percent change)                     
 Friday, January 12 at 8:30 a.m. ET                      Actual:        
               Median         Range                  Dec17  Nov17  Oct17
 Retail Sales   +0.4%     +0.2% to +0.7%                --  +0.8%  +0.5%
 Ex-Mtr Veh     +0.3%     +0.1% to +0.6%                --  +1.0%  +0.4%
     Comments: Retail sales are forecast to rise 0.4% in December after 
a sharp 0.8% increase in November. Seasonally adjusted industry motor   
vehicle sales improved overall in December, while AAA reported that     
gasoline prices declined in mid-December from one month earlier. Retail 
sales are expected to rise 0.3% excluding motor vehicles after          
November's 1.0% gain, as electronics sales were cut back by seasonal    
adjustment factors.                                                     
Consumer Price Index for December (percent change)                      
 Friday, January 12 at 8:30 a.m. ET                      Actual:        
              Median         Range                   Dec17  Nov17  Oct17
 CPI           +0.1%      Flat to +0.2%                 --  +0.4%  +0.1%
 CPI Core      +0.2%     +0.1% to +0.3%                 --  +0.1%  +0.2%
     Comments: The CPI is expected to rise 0.1% in December following a 
0.4% rise in November. Analysts expect energy prices to slip after      
October's 3.9% rebound due to gasoline prices. AAA reported a pull-back 
in mid-month prices from November to December. Food prices are expected 
to post a modest increase. The core CPI is forecast to rise 0.2%        
following a softer-than-expected 0.1% increase in October.              
Business Inventories for November (percent change)                      
 Friday, January 12 at 10:00 a.m. ET                     Actual:        
              Median           Range                 Nov17  Oct17  Sep17
 Inventories   +0.4%      +0.2% to +0.4%                --  -0.1%   Flat
     Comments: Business inventories are expected to rise 0.4% in        
November. Factory inventories were already reported as up 0.4% in the   
month, a 0.8% gain was reported for wholesale inventories, and the advance
report pointed to a 0.1% rise for retail inventories. Taken together, an MNI
calculation looks for a 0.4% increase for business inventories before the
wholesale release on January 10. As for sales, factory shipments were up 1.2%
and the advance estimate for retail trade sales was a 0.8% gain, so it appears
business sales will be strong this month.
--MNI Washington Bureau; +1 202-371-2121; email:
[TOPICS: M$U$$$]

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