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February 13, 2013

Retail Sales, Inventories, and Mortgage Applications Weak.

February 13, 2013

Retail Sales, Inventories, and Mortgage Applications Weak.

Retail Sales (January 2013)

– Retail Sales – Month/Month +0.1%. Previous was +0.5%

– Retail Sales less autos – Month/Month +0.2%. Previous was +0.3%

– Less Autos & Gas – Month/Month +0.2%. Previous was +0.6%.

Lower take home pay induced by the end of  lower social security payroll tax rate and higher income tax rates for some left less money to spend.  The slow growth in Retail Sales indicates weak 1stQ2013 GDP.  Consumer Spending is the largest part of GDP.

Business Inventories (December 2012)

Inventories – Month/Month +0.1%. Previous was +0.3%.  This is a component of 4thQ2012 GDP and would seem to indicate that 4thQ2012 was as weak as the preliminary release indicated.

MBA Mortgage Applications (week ended 2/8/2013)

– Purchase Index – Week/Week -10.0%

– Refinance Index – Week/Week -6.0%

– Composite Index – Week/Week -6.4%.

The refinance index is being hurt by higher rates.  The purchase index is more fundamental and, along with other data, shows signs of a very flat economy.

 

Import/Export Prices (January 2013)

– Export Prices – Month/Month +0.3%

– Export Prices – Year/Year 1.1%

– Import Prices – Month/Month +0.6%

– Import Prices – Year/Year -1.3%.

Oil prices moved up and there are subtleties created by rather sizable changes in exchange rates.