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mohsinqureshii

Fundamental Economic Data and Forecasts for the US$

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There appears to be a tentative and gradual uplift in the US economy but the data variance is detracting from the notion of a secure growth rate. As per advanced estimates the Real gross domestic product — the output of goods and services produced by labor and property located in the United States — increased at an annual rate of 3.2 percent in the fourth quarter of 2013 compared to real GDP increased 4.1 percent in the third quarter. And the real GDP increased YoY from 2.8% in 2012 to 1.9% in 2013.

 

On the consumption side, the price index for gross domestic purchases, which measures prices paid by U.S. residents, increased 1.2 percent in the fourth quarter, compared to an increase of 1.8 percent in the third, which shows deceleration. Current-dollar personal income increased $69.4 billion (2.0 percent) in the fourth quarter, compared to an increase of $140.0 billion (4.0 percent) in the quarter preceding it. Personal income increased $2.3 billion, or less than 0.1 percent, and disposable personal income (DPI) decreased $3.8 billion, or less than 0.1 percent, in December according to the Bureau of Economic Analysis. Personal consumption expenditures (PCE) increased $44.1 billion, or 0.4 percent. However this Personal Consumption expenditure increase is lower than the increase in November, when a 0.6% increase was registered that is $74.8 billion in value.

 

Total nonfarm payroll employment rose by 113,000 in January, lower than the 2013 monthly average of 194,000, but unemployment rate remained near the benchmark at 6.6%. Personal income (DPI) increased at a reduced rate in December by $2.3 and so did Personal Consumption Expenditure (PCE) by $44.1 billion. However, Personal Savings (DPI less PCE) were lower at $495.2 billion in December down from $541 billion in November. The Pending Home Sales Index fell 8.8% and was lowest since October 2011 reaching 92.4. While the sales was down due to abnormal weather conditions, however, structural problems of demand supply gap, due to limited inventory, and tighter regulation, is capping the sales. As can be seen from the graph, that home sales were almost flat November to December which delineates these issues.

 

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On a more positive note The Conference Board Consumer Confidence Index®, which posted a rebound in December, once again improved in January. The Index now stands at 80.7 (1985=100), up from 77.5 in December. The Present Situation Index increased to 79.1 from 75.3. The Expectations Index increased to 81.8 from 79.0 last month. Given that these measurements are subjective and may vary between geographical disparate regions, still do permeate a sense of optimism.

 

The recently issued Market Flash U.S. Services, Business Activity Index, signaled a further expansion of service sector output from 55.7 in December to 56.6 in January. The increasing levels of activity have improved the business outlook. Further the Markit U.S. Composite PMI output index, based on Services and Manufacturing PMI, was similar to 56.1 a month earlier.

 

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The Federal Open Market Committee meeting, reaffirmed that while growth did pick up in the recent quarters, still it was important not to lose sight of the consistent achievement of the employment target while maintaining an inflationary target of the targeted 2%, which has run below the Committees objectives. So the option to modulate the purchase of Treasury and Mortgage back securities would be conditional to the steadily improving labor market conditions in the context of price stability, which figuratively are two sides of the same coin.

 

Given the general variability of the data, the medium term outlook is pointing to a flattish fundamental outlook, even though the biggest economy in the world is purported to be set for a rebound in 2014.

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