- by New Deal democrat
[Note: Apologies for the last posting. I am on vacation in an Undisclosed Location, but faithful to my nerd-dom, put together this week's compilation, which was assembled near a beach in the company of several pina coladas and tropical martinique.]
Monthly data released last week included producer and consumer prices, both up 0.1%, and housing permits, which made another post-recession high, while starts declined. existing home sales rose slightly. The volatile Philadelphia Fed index contracted to a six month low. The Leading Indicators for January increased 0.2' indicating that expansion should continue for the next few months.
Let's start again this look at the high frequency weekly indicators by checking what is happening with tax withholding:
Daily Treasury Statement tax withholding
- 128.3 B unadjusted was withheld this year in the first 14 days of February compared with $116.5 B a year ago, a --% increase
- $145.3 (adjusted for 2013 payroll tax withholding changes) vs. $151.4 B, -4.0% YoY for the last 20 days. The unadjusted result was $167.2 B for a 10.4% increase.
- 362,000 up 20'000
- 4 week average 360,750 up 8,250
- unchanged at 89 w/w up 2.7%YoY
For the record again, I am adjusting my YoY tax withholding figures to reflect the increase in personal withholding taxes. While the YoY collections are up substantially, they should be up over 15% to compensate for the tax increase. Since I can think of no reason why employment itself should have fallen off a cliff in January, it is very possible that there is a lag in the payment of withholding taxes with the new increase. If this hypothesis is correct, I would expect tax withholding to be much more reliable within the next week or two. So far, that isn't happening.
- ICSC +2.7% w/w +1.8% YoY
- Johnson Redbook +3.1%YoY
- Gallup daily consumer spending 14 day average at $82 up $14 YoY !
- YoY this week. +3.4%
Real estate loans, from the FRB H8 report:
- -0.6% w.w
- +0.7% YoY
- +2.5% from its bottom
- -17%% w/w purchase applications
- +17% YoY purchase applications
- -1.6% w/w refinance applications
Interest rates and credit spreads
- 4.86% BAA corporate bonds unchanged
- +0.01% to 2.01% 10 year treasury bonds
- -0.01 change at 2.85% credit spread between corporates and treasuries
- +0.5% w/w
- +2.0% m/m
- +10.8% YoY Real M1
- +0.1% w/w
- -0.4% m/m
- +5.4% YoY Real M2
Oil prices and usage
- Oil $93.13 down 2.73w/w
- gas $3.75 up $0.13 w/w
- Usage 4 week average YoY +2.5%
- -3300 or -1.2% carloads YoY
- +2700 or +1.6% carloads ex-coal
- +33,000 or +13.6% intermodal units
- +27,000 or +5.3% YoY total loads
- Harpex up 2 at 372
- Baltic Dry Index down 13 to 740
Bank lending rates
- 0.17 TED spread down -0.025 w/w
- 0.2000 LIBOR unchanged w/w
JoC ECRI Commodity prices
- up 0.12 to 129.03 w/w
- +3.22% YoY
It remains the case that the most important issue at the moment is whether the 2% increase in withholding tax rates is having an effect on consumers. The austerity of budget sequestration is now less than a week away. The potential consequences of moving income and spending forward into 2012 from 2013 due to tax increases are also noteworthy. For the last three weeks it looks like we got some - but by no means an overwhelming amount of - evidence that there has been an effect.
By far the most negative data was tax withholdings. Other employment metrics are neutral. M2 money supply has declined since the first of the year. Corporate bond rates have risen and the credit spread has widened, although it is still closer to YoY lows. ICSC consumer spending was weak. Commodity prices fell this weel. Gas prices are higher than last year by $0.16 and at $3.75, the Oil choke collar is beginning to engage.
Continuing positives once again include the housing market, consumer spending as measured by Gallup and this week by the Johnson Redbook survey, and bank lending rates. Gas usage has turned positive. Rail traffic is also positive again.
While again there is some evidence of a consumer and employment slowdown, it is not substantial yet. More interesting is that while the majority of the high frequency data continue to be positive, they are less so than in recent months.
Have a nice weekend.