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Market Minute - May 18, 2020

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Market Minute - May 18, 2020

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Macro Economy

Small businesses are feeling the pain, but expect this to be temporary are hopeful on recovery in months to come: The NFIB index measuring small businesses’ optimism fell 5.5 points to 90.9 in April, which was better than expected and in fact a lesser drop than its breaking record drop the month prior.

Retail sales plunge a record 16.4% in April: As the U.S. economy continued on lockdown throughout April amid coronavirus pandemic, sales at U.S. retailers sank as economic shutdown spawned unprecedented slump in consumer spending.

Consumers still hopeful that economic recovery will begin soon: The sentiment among consumers seemed to have improved in May as stimulus checks finally made their way to American households during the second half of April and beginning of May. Consumer sentiment index improved from 73.7 to 71.8 – said the University of Michigan.

Consumer prices post biggest decline since the great recession: Consumer prices sank 0.8% in April, led by tumbling gasoline prices and record drop in airfares. The pace of inflation over the last 12 months slowed to 0.3% from 1.5% in March and 2.5% at the start of 2020.

Industrial production collapsed in April: U.S. output fell a record 11.2% led by a record decline in manufacturing which dropped 13.7% as a result of massive factory closures. Capacity utilization slumped to a record low of 64.9%.

The wholesale cost of U.S. goods and services had largest decline on record: The producer price index showed that wholesale prices sank 1.3% as coronavirus crisis triggered a broad waning in demand. The yearly rate of wholesale inflation turned negative for the first time since 2015.

U.S. import prices drop sharply in April: Amid a steep drop in energy costs, the index measuring import prices had the largest monthly drop since early 2015 by declining 2.6% from the month prior and 6.8% from a year ago. The monthly drop was led by falling fuel prices and a 3.3% decrease in demand for U.S. exports.

Job openings fell in March: As Americans were asked to stay-at-home and businesses have no other options than to slow or cease operations, tens of millions of Americans were thrown out of work and job openings fell 813,000 to 6.2 million by the end of March – the lowest level in nearly 3 years. As more layoffs continue, job openings sure to sink much further in April.

Jobless claims grew by another 2.6 million: The total number of Americans that applied for unemployment benefits now tops 36 million of which at least 22 million are already receiving government aid benefits. Even though the weekly number of layoffs has tapered off from its 6.9M peak, new jobless claims are still rising by the millions.

U.S. runs $737.9 billion April budget deficit: Federal government spending totaled $980 billion in April as stimulus packaged is rushed to  provide assistance to those impacted by the economy’s shutdown in an effort to slow the spread of COVID-19.


Real Estate Finance

Mortgage rates generally hold steady: The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage (FRM) inched up from 3.26% the week prior to 3.28% but remain nearly a quarter percentage point lower than the average of 4.07% recorded a year ago. The FRM has stabilized at or near record lows over the last few weeks.

Mortgage applications increase: Mortgage applications increased 0.3% from a week earlier on a seasonally adjusted basis and the refinance index dipped by 3%. However, refinance applications still remain 201% higher than a year ago. New purchase index increased 11% from the week prior on a seasonally adjusted basis but new purchase applications remain 10% below from the level recorded the same week of last year.

 


Past Market Minutes
May 11, 2020 - Consumer confidence at lowest level since Nov. 2011, U.S. Economy shed 20.5 million jobs in April
May 4, 2020 - Housing demand holding up better than expected, mortgage rates at all-time low
April 27, 2020 - Existing home sales slump in March, weekly jobless claims jump
April 20, 2020 - CA home sales dip and loses 100K jobs, while mortgage interest rates dip slightly

For previous weeks visit our archive folder.


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