· Real GDP increased at an annual rate of 2.6% in the fourth quarter of 2016, after increasing 3.2% in the previous quarter, according to the “advance” estimate released by the Bureau of Economic Analysis. Real final sales of domestic product increased 3.2%, following a 2.4% increase in the previous quarter.
· The price index for gross domestic purchases increased 2.5% in the fourth quarter, compared to an increase of 1.7% in the previous quarter. The price index for personal consumption expenditures (PCE) increased 2.8%, compared with an increase of 1.5% in the previous quarter. Excluding food and energy prices, the PCE price index increased 1.9%, compared with an increase of 1.3% in the previous quarter.
· Real GDP increased 2.3% in the year 2017, compared with an increase of 1.5% in 2016. The price index for gross domestic purchases increased 1.8% in 2017, compared to an increase of 1.0% in 2016. Current-dollar GDP increased 4.1% in 2017 to a level of $19,386.8 billion, compared with an increase of 2.8% in 2016.
· Real gross domestic product (GDP) increased in every state and the District of Columbia in the third quarter of 2017, according to the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis. Real GDP by state growth in the third quarter ranged from 5.7% in Delaware to 0.5% in South Dakota.
· New orders for manufactured durable goods increased 2.9% in December, while shipments increased 0.6%, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. New orders in the year 2017 were up 5.8% from 2016, while shipments were up 4.1%.
· Retail inventories for December, adjusted for seasonal variations but not for price changes, were estimated at an end-of-month level of $620.4 billion, up 0.2% from November 2017, and were up 2.2% from December 2016.
· Wholesale inventories for December, adjusted for seasonal variations but not for price changes, were estimated at an end-of-month level of $611.4 billion, up 0.2% from November 2017, and were up 3.3% from December 2016.
· The international trade deficit was $71.6 billion in December, up $1.6 billion from $70.0 billion in November, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Exports of goods for December were $137.6 billion, $3.6 billion more than November exports. Imports of goods for December were $209.2 billion, $5.2 billion more than November imports.
· December existing home sales decreased 3.6% to an annualized rate of 5.57 million units, according to the National Association of Realtors. The December figure was 1.1 % above the December 2016 figure. The median sales price of existing houses sold was $246.8 thousand, 5.8% above December 2016. The housing inventory at the end of December dropped 11.4% to 1.48 million existing homes for sale. Sales were at 5.51 million units for the year 2017, the highest since 2006.
· December new home sales decreased 9.3% to an annualized rate of 625 thousand units. The December figure was 14.1% above the December 2016 figure. The median sales price of new houses sold was $335.4 thousand, 2.6% above December 2016. Sales were 608 thousand units in the year 2017, 8.3% above the previous year.
· U.S. House prices rose 0.4% on a seasonally adjusted basis from October to November, after increasing 0.6% in the previous period, according to the Federal Housing Finance Agency’s (FHFA) monthly House Price Index. For the 12 months ending in November, U.S. prices rose 6.5%.
· The results of Freddie Mac’s Primary Mortgage Market Survey showed fixed mortgage rates moving higher for the third consecutive week. The 30-year fixed mortgage rate averaged 4.15% for the week ending January 25, up from last week when it averaged 4.04%. A year ago at this time, the 30-year fixed-rate averaged 4.19%.
· Mortgage applications increased 4.5% from a week earlier week, according to data from Mortgage Bankers Association’s (MBA) Weekly Applications Survey for the week ending January 19,2018.
· The advance figure for initial claims for unemployment insurance increased by 17 thousand to 233 thousand in the week ending January 20. The 4-week moving average was 240 thousand, a decrease of 3.5 thousand from the previous week’s revised average.
· The Conference Board index of leading economic indicators increased 0.6% in December, following a 0.5% increase in the previous month. Over the last six months of 2017, the index grew 3.1% (about 6.3% annual rate), faster than the growth of 2.6% (about 5.2% annual rate) over the first half of the year. The Conference Board coincident economic index increased 0.3% in December, after a 0.1% increase in November. The coincident index rose 1.2% (about 2.4% annual rate) during the last six months of 2017, slightly faster than the growth of 0.9% (about 1.8% annual rate) over the first half of the year.
· The Chicago FED National Activity Index increased to 0.27 in December, from 0.11 in November. The index’s three-month moving average was 0.42, compared with 0.43 in November.