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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.         
Existing-home Sales for December (annual rate)                           
 Tuesday, January 22 at 10:00 a.m. ET                    Actual:
                 Median       Range                  Dec18  Nov18  Oct18
 Home Resales     5.21m  5.20m to 5.22m                 --  5.32m  5.22m
     Comments: The pace of existing home sales is expected to slow to a 
5.21 million annual rate in December after rising further to 5.32 
million in November. Even with that November gain, sales remained below 
their year-ago level. Pending home sales fell by 0.7% in November and 
were well below their year-ago levels, a negative indicator for existing 
home sales. 
Weekly Jobless Claims for January 19 week                                
 Thursday, January 24 at 8:30 a.m. ET                    Actual:       
               Median         Range                  Jan19  Jan12  Jan05
 Weekly Claims   208k     208k to 208k                  --   213k   216k
     Comments: The level of initial jobless claims is expected to fall 
by 5,000 to 208,000 in the January 19 week after a decline of 3,000 to a 
208,000 level in the previous week, a continuation of the volatility 
normally seen at the start of the year. The impact of the government 
shutdown may be seen in coming weeks as a portion of the furloughed 
government workers file for benefits. The level of filings by Federal 
workers, which lags by a week, more than doubled to 10,454 in the 
January 5 week and is likely to move even higher. The four-week moving 
average would decline further in the coming week as the 221,000 level in 
the December 22 week rolls out of the calculation, assuming the MNI 
forecast is correct and there are no revisions. 
Leading Indicators for December (percent change)
 Thursday, January 24 at 10:00 a.m. ET                   Actual:
                 Median         Range                Dec18  Nov18  Oct18
 Leading Index    +0.2%    +0.2% to +0.2%               --  +0.2%  -0.3%
     Comments: The index of leading indicators is forecast to rise by 
0.2% in December, the same as in November. Sharp declines in both stock 
prices and consumer expectations should be key negative factors. Data on 
factory orders and building permits, components in the index of leading 
indicators, have not been released this month due to the Federal 
Government shutdown.
--MNI Washington Bureau; +1 (973) 494-2611; email:

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