· State personal income increased 4.3% at an annual rate in the first quarter of 2018, after increasing 4.7% in the fourth quarter of 2017, according to the Bureau of Economic Analysis. Personal income increased in all states and the District of Columbia. The percent change in personal income across all states ranged from 2.0% in Idaho to 7.4% in Washington.
· The U.S. current-account deficit increased to $124.1 billion (preliminary) in the first quarter of 2018 from $116.1 billion (revised) in the fourth quarter of 2017, according to the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA). The deficit increased to 2.5% of current-dollar gross domestic product (GDP) from 2.4% in the previous quarter. The $8.0 billion increase in the current-account deficit reflected an $8.1 billion increase in the in the deficit on goods, and relatively small and nearly offsetting changes in the balances on services, primary income, and secondary income.
· May existing home sales decreased 0.4% to an annualized rate of 5,430 thousand units. The May figure was 3.0% below the May 2017 figure. There were 1,850 thousand homes for sale at the end of the month. This represents a supply of 4.1 months at the current sales rate, compared to 4.2 in May of 2017. The median sales price of existing houses sold was $264.8 thousand, 4.9% above May 2017.
· Housing starts in May were up 5.0% from the previous month, and were up 20.3% from a year ago. Year-to-date, housing starts were up 11.0% from the same period a year ago. Building permits were down 4.6% from the previous month, but were up 8.0% from May 2017. Year-to-date, building permits were up 8.9% from the same period a year ago.
· The housing market index of National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) and Wells Fargo decreased 2 points to 68 in June. The Index was 72 in January of this year and 66 in June of last year.
· U.S. House prices rose 0.1% on a seasonally adjusted basis from March to April, according to the Federal Housing Finance Agency’s (FHFA). For the 12 months ending in April, U.S. prices were up 6.4%. For the nine census divisions, seasonally adjusted monthly price changes from March 2018 to April 2018 ranged from negative 0.5% in the West South Central division to positive 0.6% in the East North Central division. The 12-month changes were all positive, ranging from 4.6% in the West South Central division to 8.9% in the Mountain division.
· The results of Freddie Mac’s Primary Mortgage Market Survey showed average fixed mortgage rates inched back over the past week and have now declined in three of the past four weeks. 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 4.57% for the week ending June 21, down from last week when it averaged 4.62%. A year ago this time, the 30-year fixed-rate averaged 3.90%. 15-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 4.04% for the week ending June 21, downs from last week when it averaged 4.07%. A year ago this time, the 15-year fixed-rate averaged 3.17%.
· Mortgage applications increased 5.1% from a week earlier, according to data from Mortgage Bankers Association’s (MBA) Weekly Applications Survey for the week ending June 15th.
· The advance figure for initial claims for unemployment insurance decreased 3 thousand to 218 thousand in the week ending June 16. The 4-week moving average was 221 thousand, a decrease of 4 thousand from the previous week’s average. The advance number for seasonally adjusted insured unemployment (ongoing) during the week ending June 9 was 1,723 thousand, an increase of 22 thousand from the previous week’s revised level. The 4-week moving average was 1,722.5 thousand, a decrease of 4.75 thousand from the previous week’s revised average. This was the lowest level for this average since December 8, 1973 when it was 1,715.5 thousand.
· The Philadelphia FED business outlook survey reported that manufacturing activity in the region continued to expand in June. All the broad indicators remained positive, although the indicators for general activity and new orders decreased significantly. The firms continued to report higher prices for both purchased inputs and their own manufactured goods, although the survey’s price indicators decreased modestly from their May readings.
· The Conference Board index of leading economic indicators increased 0.2% in May, following an increase of 0.4% in the previous month. Over the six-month span through May, the leading index increased 3.0% (about a 6.1% annual rate), with nine out of ten components advancing. The Conference Board coincident economic index increased 0.2% in May, the same increase as in the previous month. Over the six-month span through May, the coincident index increased 1.0%% (about a 2.0% annual rate), with all four components advancing.