Wednesday, May 18, 2011
Wells Fargo’s Weekly Economic & Financial Commentary
- Inflation reports came in mostly above expectations during the week, with import prices increasing 2.2 percent, producer prices rising 0.8 percent, and consumer prices rising 0.4 percent month-over-month.
. Core CPI inflation, watched closely by the Federal Reserve, rose 0.2 percent during April.
- The U.S. trade balance was higher than expected in March, rising to $48.2 billion from a revised reading of $45.4 billion in February.
. Surprisingly, most of the increase in the deficit was due to a 20.9 percent increase in the volume of petroleum imported, after a decline of 18.1 percent in that measure during February.
. In March, exports rose 4.6 percent compared to February, and 14.9 year-over-year.
- April’s retail data was mixed, as housing-related purchases such as furniture and appliances declined 1.1 percent, while gasoline rose 2.7 percent and food and beverage sales increased 1.2 percent.
- Initial jobless claims remained above 400,000 for the fifth consecutive week, but declined to 434,000 from the previous week’s revised number of 478,000.