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Look Forward: February 4 week light on economic data, so far

Note: The Census Bureau has begun to address the backlog of reports and it is going to be confusing for a while as they sort out the best way to release the data. The Bureau of Economic Analysis has not posted its plans yet, although they will provide data for the upcoming joint report with the Bureau of Labor Statistics for productivity and costs, and on motor vehicle sales:

  • Motor vehicle sales for November and December will be released on Monday at 12:00 ET.
  • Factory orders for November (was 10:00 ET on Monday, January 7) will be released on Monday,
    February 4.
  • International trade in goods and services for November (was 8:30 ET on Tuesday, January 8) will be released on Wednesday, February 6.
  • Business inventories for November (was 10:00 ET on Wednesday, January 16) will be released on Thursday, February 14.
  • Retail and food sales for December (was 8:30 ET on Wednesday, January 16) TBA.
  • Housing starts and building permits issued for December 
  • Sales of new single-family homes in December (was 10:00 ET on Friday, January 25) TBA.
  • Advance report on international trade in goods, retail inventories, and wholesale inventories for December (was 8:30 ET on Tuesday, January 29) TBA.
  • Advance estimate for fourth quarter GDP (was 8:30 ET on Wednesday, January 30) TBA.
  • Personal income and spending for December (was 8:30 ET on Thursday, January 31).  TBA
  • (was 8:30 ET on Thursday, January 17) TBA.
  • Advance report on orders for durable goods in December (was 8:30 ET on Friday, January 25) TBA.

There is not a lot of data on the calendar for the February 4 week, but it is likely to become more populated as the Census Bureau and Bureau of Economic Analysis announce additional release dates. In a number of cases it may prove simpler to just wait and release two months’ worth of data on the next scheduled date.  In any case, the catch-up data will be relatively old.

Data on factory orders for November at 10:00 ET on Monday will reflect the modest rise in durable goods orders already reported at up 0.8%, while nondurable goods are likely to decline somewhat due to decreases in petroleum.

Also on Monday at around noon, the Bureau of Economic Analysis will report two months of numbers on sales of motor vehicles. This will help fill out expectations for consumer spending on durable goods in the fourth quarter and at the start of the first quarter 2019. It will provide a gauge of if consumers are confident enough to spend on big ticket items.

The ISM Non-Manufacturing Index for January at 10:00 ET on Tuesday may show activity was off in the month due to the partial federal government shutdown. The service sector probably felt the effects more than the factory sector with contracts unpaid and/or unsigned for the month. District Bank surveys point to less vigorous conditions for the month.

International trade in goods and services for November at 8:30 ET on Wednesday is another catch-up release of data. It will shape expectations for growth in the fourth quarter, but without the advance numbers for December, it will only capture part of the picture.

The preliminary numbers on Productivity and Costs for the fourth quarter at 8:30 ET on Wednesday may be even more preliminary than usual as the Bureau of Economic Analysis may not be able to provide the Bureau of Labor Statistics a complete data set to prepare the report.

Initial jobless claims for the February 2 week at 8:30 ET on Thursday are expected to reverse much of the climb in the previously week after the federal government was fully open. The noise should be pretty much gone, at least temporarily.

Data on consumer credit in December at 15:00 ET on Thursday predates the shutdown and plunge in consumer confidence. It should reflect a fairly lively holiday spending period in which consumers were willing to make use of credit cards. How it will look for non-revolving credit will depend on if discounts and incentives offered by automakers were sufficiently enticing.

A few Fed officials will give speeches in the evening next week. The most interesting may be remarks from Cleveland Fed President Loretta Mester on Monday at 19:30 ET. She is not a voter this year, but as a moderate hawk she may be another voice supportive of waiting until the economy is clear of the present uncertainties before another rate hike.  Chair Jerome Powell is holding a town hall style meeting with educators on Wednesday at 19:00 ET. He is not likely to change is views on monetary policy since his press briefing on January 30. St. Louis Fed President James Bullard is giving a talk about the economy and monetary policy at 19:30 ET on Thursday. However, his recently reiterated views on keeping interest rates low are well established and unlikely to budge. He is an FOMC voter this year.

Voting Presidents

Although it is not on the official calendar, the Fed is expected to release the January issue of the Senior Loan Officer Opinion Survey at 14:00 on Monday or perhaps Tuesday.

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