Economic Update, January 16, 2012
Courtesy of Marie Richarz, Prospect Mortgage
Retail sales rose 0.1% to $400.6 billion in December after an upwardly revised 0.4% increase in November. It was the seventh straight monthly gain and the first $400 billion month for retail sales. Total retail sales for 2011 had the largest percentage increase since 1999, up 7.7% to a record $4.691 trillion.
Wholesalers increased their inventories 0.1% to $468.9 billion in November. This followed a revised 1.2% rise in October. Sales at the wholesale level rose 0.6% to $407.9 billion in November. On a year-over-year basis, sales were 11.3% higher since November 2010.
The Mortgage Bankers Association said its seasonally adjusted composite index of mortgage applications for the week ending January 6 rose 4.5%. Refinancing applications increased 3.3%. Purchase volume rose 8.1%.
Total business inventories rose 0.3% in November to $1.55 trillion, up 8.5% from a year ago. Total business sales also increased 0.3% to $1.22 trillion in November, up 9.6% from a year ago. The total business inventories/sales ratio in November was 1.27.
The trade deficit increased to $47.8 billion in November from a downwardly revised $43.3 billion in October. Exports fell 0.9% to $177.8 billion. Imports increased 1.3% to $225.6 billion.
The Reuters/University of Michigan consumer sentiment index for January’s preliminary reading rose to 74 from 69.9 in December. It was the fifth monthly gain in a row for the index and the highest reading since May.
Initial claims for unemployment benefits rose by 24,000 to 399,000 for the week ending January 7. Continuing claims for the week ending December 31 rose by 19,000 to 3.629 million.
Upcoming on the economic calendar are reports on the housing market index on January 18, housing starts on January 19 and existing home sales on January 20.