Thursday, November 15, 2007

CPI at Expectations, NY Manufacturing Near 3-year High, Job Market Healthy, Philly Fed Rises

- The Consumer Price Index for October rose .3% versus estimates of a .3% gain and a .3% increase in September.

- The CPI Ex Food & Energy for October rose .2% versus estimates of a .2% gain and a .2% rise in September.

- Empire Manufacturing for November came in at 27.4 versus estimates of 19.0 and a reading of 28.8 in October.

- Initial Jobless Claims for this week rose to 339K versus estimates of 320K and 319K the prior week.

- Continuing Claims fell to 2568K versus estimates of 2575K and 2575K prior.

- The Philly Fed for November rose to 8.2 versus estimates of 5.0 and a reading of 6.8 in October.

BOTTOM LINE: Consumer prices in the US rose at the same pace in October as the previous month, Bloomberg reported. Core consumer prices are now rising at a 2.2% annual rate. Food prices rose .3% versus a .5% gain in September. Clothing prices were unch. and auto prices fell slightly. The impact of high energy prices on other prices has been limited. Competition for business continues to keep a lid on inflation, economists said. I continue to believe next month’s inflation readings will show acceleration on the move higher in energy prices, but that further deceleration in inflation is likely over the intermediate-term. I still think the secular trend of disinflation remains firmly in tact.

The pace of manufacturing in NY this month held near a three-year high as shipments accelerated, Bloomberg reported. The Inventories component dropped to minus 1.2 versus 3.5 the prior month. The New Orders component fell to 24.5 versus 25 in October. The Prices Paid component rose to 42.9 versus 36.1 last month. I continue to expect manufacturing to help boost overall US growth as exports remain strong and companies rebuild depleted inventories as they gain confidence in the sustainability of the current expansion.

The number of Americans filing first-time claims for unemployment benefits increased last week, Bloomberg said. The four-week moving average of claims held steady at 330,000. The unemployment rate among those eligible to collect benefits, which tracks the US unemployment rate, held steady at a historically low 1.9%. The Hollywood writers' strike likely contributed to the uptick in claims. I still believe the job market will remain healthy over the intermediate-term without generating substantial unit labor cost increases.

Manufacturing in the Philly region unexpectedly accelerated this month as new orders and shipments strengthened, Bloomberg reported. The Inventory component rose to 2.5 versus minus 15 in October. The Prices Paid component fell to 37.7 versus 40.3 in October. As I said above, I still expect manufacturing to continue to help boost overall US economic growth over the intermediate-term.

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