Economic Update – February 19, 2013
Provided by Marie Richarz, Prospect Mortgage
Retail sales rose 0.1% to $416.6 billion in January. This follows a 0.5% increase in December. Compared to January 2012, retail sales have increased 4.4%.
The Mortgage Bankers Association said its seasonally adjusted composite index of mortgage applications for the week ending February 8 fell 6.4%. Purchase volume fell 10%. Refinancing applications decreased 6%.
Import prices rose 0.6% in January, following a 0.5% decrease in December. On a year-over-year basis, import prices were down 1.3% in January. Export prices rose 0.3% in January, following a 0.1% decrease in December. Compared to a year ago, export prices were up 1.1% in January.
Total business inventories rose 0.1% in December to $1.623 trillion, up 5.1% from a year ago. Total business sales increased 0.3% to $1.274 trillion in December, up 3.6% from a year ago. The total business inventories/sales ratio in December was 1.27.
Industrial production at the nation’s factories, mines and utilities fell 0.1% in January after increasing 0.4% in December. Compared to January 2012, industrial production has increased 2.1%. Capacity utilization fell to 79.1% in January from 79.3% in December.
The Reuters/University of Michigan consumer sentiment index for February’s preliminary reading rose to 76.3 from 73.8 in January.
Initial claims for unemployment benefits for the week ending February 9 fell by 27,000 to 341,000. Continuing claims for the week ending February 2 fell by 130,000 to 3.187 million. The less volatile four-week average of claims for unemployment benefits was 352,500.
Upcoming on the economic calendar are reports on the housing market index on February 19, housing starts on February 20 and existing home sales on February 21.