Apr 23, 201509:18 AMOpen Mic
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Economic update: One-time events lead to soft 1Q growth
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U.S. economic reports released last week indicate first quarter growth was soft, but this was likely the result of one-time events rather than pointing to a trajectory of weaker activity in coming quarters.
The consumer seems to be recovering from winter storms, based on a rise in April’s preliminary University of Michigan Consumer Sentiment Index, and a recovery in retail sales for March, which rose for the month after declines during the first two months of the quarter.
The business sector may take more time to recover, with industrial production declining 0.6% in March and slowing nearly 1% overall for the quarter. Low oil prices and declining rig counts are leading to declines in production in mining and the oil patch, although we have not yet seen the impact in oil output. Housing is more likely to be a leading investment factor in coming months due to rising household formation and an increase in sales and builder confidence.
Consumer prices rose 0.2% in March, both including and excluding food and energy prices, likely easing some of the markets’ concerns of U.S. deflationary pressures. The modest rise in the general level of prices, despite low energy prices, seems to indicate domestic demand remains relatively healthy and is likely not seeing softer demand or possible negative effects from a rising U.S. dollar.