The Independent Market Observer

Economic Release Snapshot: Mixed February Inflation Reports

Posted by Sam Millette

This entry was posted on Mar 20, 2023 10:15:07 AM

and tagged In the News

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Monday UpdateEach week, we break down the latest U.S. economic reports, including what the results mean for the overall health of the economy. Here, you will find how economists’ forecasts compare with actual results, key takeaways to consider, as well as a list of what’s on tap for the week ahead. 

Reports for the Week of March 13

Consumer Price Index, February (Tuesday)

  • Prior monthly CPI/core CPI growth: +0.5%/+0.4%
  • Expected monthly CPI/core CPI growth: +0.4%/+0.4%
  • Actual monthly CPI/core CPI growth: +0.4%/+0.5%
  • Prior year-over-year CPI/core CPI growth: +6.4%/+5.6%
  • Expected year-over-year CPI/core CPI growth: +6.0%/+5.5%
  • Actual year-over-year CPI/core CPI growth: +6.0%/+5.5%

Headline and core consumer inflation came in as expected in February, as both measures of consumer inflation continued to decline on a year-over-year basis.

Producer Price Index, February (Wednesday)

  • Prior monthly PPI/core PPI growth: +0.3%/+0.1%
  • Expected monthly PPI/core PPI growth: +0.3%/+0.4%
  • Actual monthly PPI/core PPI growth: –0.1%/+0.0%
  • Prior year-over-year PPI/core PPI growth: +5.7%/+5.0%
  • Expected year-over-year PPI/core PPI growth: +5.4%/+5.2%
  • Actual year-over-year PPI/core PPI growth: +4.6%/+4.4%

Producer inflation came in well below economist estimates for February. Headline producer prices fell 0.1 percent during the month, and the 4.6 percent year-over-year increase in producer prices was below economist forecasts for a 5.4 percent increase.

Retail sales, February (Wednesday)

  • Expected/prior month retail sales monthly change: –0.4%/3.2%
  • Actual retail sales monthly change: –0.4%
  • Expected/prior month core retail sales monthly change: –0.2%/+2.8%
  • Actual core retail sales monthly change: 0.0%

Retail sales fell in February after increasing much more than expected in January. Part of the drop in headline sales was attributed to falling auto sales during the month, as core sales were flat.

National Association of Home Builders Housing Market Index, March (Wednesday)

  • Expected/prior month sentiment: 42/40
  • Actual sentiment: 44

Home builder sentiment increased modestly in March, marking three consecutive months of improved home builder confidence. Despite the improvement, the index still ended the month in contractionary territory, signaling continued headwinds for homebuilders.

Housing starts and building permits, February (Thursday)

  • Expected/prior month housing starts monthly change: –2.0%/+0.1%
  • Actual housing starts monthly change: +9.8%
  • Expected/prior month building permits monthly change: +0.3%/+0.1%
  • Actual building permits monthly change: +13.8%

Housing starts and building permits improved more than expected in February; however, both measures of new home construction remained subdued compared to the highs we saw in early 2022.

Industrial production, February (Friday)

  • Expected/prior month production change: +0.2%/+0.3%
  • Actual production change: 0.0%

Industrial production was unchanged during the month, down from the 0.3 percent increase in February. Manufacturing output increased 0.1 percent, supporting overall industrial production.

University of Michigan consumer sentiment survey, March, preliminary (Friday)

  • Expected/prior sentiment: 67/67
  • Actual sentiment: 63.4

Consumer sentiment fell more than expected to start March, due to souring consumer views on the current economic situation and softer expectations for the future. Despite the drop, the index remained well above the recent lows we saw last year.

Upcoming Reports for the Week of March 20

Existing home sales, February (Tuesday)

Existing home sales are expected to pick up modestly in February. If estimates hold, this would mark the first month of sales growth since January 2022.

FOMC rate decision (Wednesday)

The rate decision from the March FOMC meeting is set to be released on Wednesday. Economists and investors will be closely monitoring the release for hints on the future path of monetary policy.

Durable goods orders, February, preliminary (Friday)

On Friday, the preliminary estimate for the February durable goods orders report is scheduled for release. Headline orders are set to rebound following a transportation-driven slump in January, while core order growth is expected to slow.

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