North America

  • 2019-03-22 14:18


    By Yali N'Diaye

    OTTAWA (MNI) - Pressure, both external and domestic, has intensified on the Bank of Canada to leave its policy rate unchanged through the end of this year, following the example of other central banks, specifically the Federal Reserve.

    On the domestic front, inflation remains well below the 2.0% target even as Statistics Canada reported Friday that total CPI ticked up to 1.5% year-over-year in February from 1.4% in January. Lower gasoline prices (-11.9% year-over-year) remained the top downward contributor, and CPI excluding gasoline rose 2.1% in February, the same pace as in January.

    However, the BOC's preferred measures of underlying inflation continued to show little sign of upward pressure.

  • 2019-03-22 10:12


    --Jan Wholesale Sales Up 0.5%; Inv/Sales Ratio Rises To 1.34
    --Business Sales Tracking +0.1%

    WASHINGTON (MNI) - January wholesale inventories increased by 1.2%, vs. +0.1% expected by both a Bloomberg consensus and an MNI survey of analysts, while wholesale sales were up 0.5% in the month, data released by the U.S. Commerce Department Friday showed.

    Retail trade sales, those excluding food services sales, were already reported up 0.2% in January's retail sales release, while factory shipments fell 0.4%, so an MNI calculation sees business sales tracking for a 0.1% gain.

    Factory inventories were already reported up 0.5%. Since advance retail inventories have not been released, MNI cannot calculate a preliminary estimate for business inventories.

  • 2019-03-22 08:51


    By Yali N'Diaye

    OTTAWA (MNI) - The following are the key points from the February data on the Canadian CPI released Friday by Statistics Canada:

    - Headline unadjusted CPI rose 0.7% on the month, more than the 0.6% gain expected by analysts in a MNI survey, with all the eight major components recording an increase. On a seasonally adjusted basis, CPI was up 0.3% on the month, and 0.2% excluding food and energy.

    - The monthly boost came in large part from gasoline prices, which were up 1.9%, their first monthly increase since July 2018. CPI excluding gasoline rose 0.6% on the month, the largest gain in a year.

  • 2019-03-22 08:35


    By Courtney Tower

    OTTAWA (MNI) - The following are the key points from the January data on retail sales released Friday by Statistics Canada:

    - Canadian retail sales decreased 0.3% to C$50.1 billion in January, largely on a 1.5% drop in sales of motor vehicles and parts and essentially due to price changes rather than volume changes. Analysts in a MNI survey and in a BBG consensus had expected a 0.4% gain. The estimate for December was revised down to -0.3% from -0.1%.

    - Retail sales excluding motor vehicles and parts were up 0.1%. And total sales by volume were unchanged.

    - The decrease in total sales for the third straight month had not been seen since the three-month decline in April-June 2012.

  • 2019-03-21 08:30


    By Yali N'Diaye

    OTTAWA (MNI) - The following are the key points from the January data on the Canadian wholesale sales released Thursday by Statistics Canada:

    - Total wholesale sales rose 0.6% in January to C$63.5 billion, the largest gain since October 2018. The monthly advance lifted the 12-month growth rate to 1.8% from 1.7%. December was unrevised at +0.3%.

    - Details of the report were generally robust, with widespread gains across sectors and regions. Sales increased in five of 7 subsectors, representing 70% of total wholesale trade. Regionally, sales were up in 7 provinces, representing 90% of wholesale trade.

  • 2019-03-20 15:20


    WASHINGTON (MNI) - The following is a response of Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell to a question from a reporter at his press conference following Wednesday's Federal Open Market Committee meeting.

    Question: The Fed has been allowing the average maturity of securities in its bond portfolio to lengthen. Is this aimed at consciously, aimed at flattening the yield curve? And is that going to be part of the Fed's longer run balance sheet strategy? And if flattening the yield curve is a conscious long-term strategy, are you concerned about the side effect of the heightening concerns about a flatter or inverted yield curve being a harbinger of recession.

    Powell: The basic answer to the question is no.

  • 2019-03-20 15:20


    WASHINGTON (MNI) - The following is a response of Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell to a question from a reporter at his press conference following Wednesday's Federal Open Market Committee meeting.

    Question: Hi, Jean Yung from Market News. I wanted to ask, at what point do you expect to begin to allow the balance sheet to grow slowly again? How will you make that decision?

    Powell: As I mentioned, the balance sheet runoff will stop at September 30.

  • 2019-03-20 15:10


    WASHINGTON (MN) - The following is a response of Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell to a question from a reporter at his press conference following Wednesday's Federal Open Market Committee meeting.

    Question: I counted five downgrades in the first paragraph of the FOMC statement. What conditions do you need to see in order for a rate cut or rate hike on the other side of that then?

    Powell: I think we wanted to be careful to go ahead and acknowledge the things, it's relatively little hard data so far this year but we were careful to point out lower retail sales, the weak November meeting, BFI, all those things, and that was the right thing to do.

  • 2019-03-20 15:07


    WASHINGTON (MN) - The following is a response of Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell to a question from a reporter at his press conference following Wednesday's Federal Open Market Committee meeting.

    Question: On the size of the balance sheet, do you have a numerical estimate for where it will be at the end of September once the runoff is complete?

    Powell: In terms of the size of the balance sheet, the balance sheet will be of a size of approximately 17 percent of GDP, around the end of this year, down from 25 percent of GDP at the end of 2014. So significantly smaller relative to GDP than it was.

  • 2019-03-20 07:00


    WASHINGTON (MNI) - The following is the text of the Mortgage Bankers Association's Mortgage Applications Survey released Wednesday morning:

    Mortgage applications increased 1.6 percent from one week earlier, according to data from the Mortgage Bankers Association's (MBA) Weekly Mortgage Applications Survey for the week ending March 15, 2019.

    The Market Composite Index, a measure of mortgage loan application volume, increased 1.6 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis from one week earlier. On an unadjusted basis, the Index increased 2 percent compared with the previous week. The Refinance Index increased 4 percent from the previous week.