Friday, November 13, 2009

Quick Notes for the Day - November 13

Consumer Sentiment Falls in Early November - The Reuters/University of Michigan consumer sentiment index fell to 66.0 from 70.6 in October. The main factor behind the drop seems to be the rise in the unemployment rate to 10.2%. Unemployment is a lagging indicator and generally does not rise until 6-9 months after the economy has turned around. Even with history and statistics to prove otherwise, the public almost always fails to see the recovery until unemployment starts to drop. The continued fall of the initial jobless claims reported earlier this week is a move in that direction.

Import Prices Rise - The Labor Department estimated that the price of goods imported into the US rose by 0.7% in October. This marks the third monthly rise for imports, but they are still down 5.7% year over year. Fuel prices rose 1.8%, natural gas prices jumped 24.1%, and imported petroleum prices rose 0.9%. Nonfuel import prices rose 0.4%.

Trade Deficit Widens - The Commerce Department reported that the trade deficit widened by 18.2% in September to $36.5 billion. Imports rose faster than exports in September. The U.S. trade deficit with China widened to $22.1 billion which is the largest since last October. The deficit for the year-to-date now totals $274.58 billion versus $551.44 billion in the first nine months of 2008.

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