Economic Update, April 16, 2012
Provided Courtesy of Marie Richarz, Prospect Mortgage
Retail sales rose 0.5% for the week ending April 7, according to the ICSC-Goldman Sachs index. On a year-over-year basis, retailers saw sales increase 4.5%.
Wholesalers increased their inventories 0.9% to $478.9 billion in February. Sales at the wholesale level rose 1.2% to $409.4 billion in February. On a year-over-year basis, sales were 9.3% higher since February 2011.
The trade deficit decreased to $46 billion in February from a revised $52.5 billion in January. Exports rose 0.1% to $181.2 billion. Imports dropped 2.7% to $227.2 billion.
The Mortgage Bankers Association said its seasonally adjusted composite index of mortgage applications for the week ending April 6 fell 2.4%. Refinancing applications decreased 3.1%. Purchase volume fell 0.5%.
The producer price index, which tracks wholesale price inflation, was unchanged in March after increasing 0.4% in February. On a year-over-year basis, seasonally adjusted wholesale prices are up 2.8%. Core prices — excluding food and fuel — rose 0.3% in March.
Consumer prices rose a seasonally adjusted 0.3% in March, following a 0.4% increase in February. Compared to a year ago, consumer prices are up 2.7%. Consumer prices at the core rate — excluding volatile food and energy prices — were up 0.2% in March.
The Reuters/University of Michigan consumer sentiment index for April’s preliminary reading fell to 75.7 from 76.2 in March.
Initial claims for unemployment benefits for the week ending April 7 rose by 13,000 to 380,000. Continuing claims for the week ending March 31 fell by 98,000 to 3.25 million.
Upcoming on the economic calendar are reports on the housing market index on April 16, housing starts on April 17 and existing home sales on April 19.