Relevant and even prescient commentary on news, politics and the economy.

April’s Producer Data

April’s consumer and producer prices, retail sales, and industrial production; March business inventories and JOLTS, Commenter RJS, Market Watch 666

Producer Prices rose 0.6% in April on Higher Wholesale Food Prices, Wider Margins for Transportation Services

The seasonally adjusted Producer Price Index (PPI) for final demand rose 0.6% in March, as prices for both finished wholesale goods and margins of final services providers rose 0.6%. That increase followed a March report that had the PPI 1.0% higher, as prices for finished wholesale goods rose 1.7% while margins of final services providers rose 0.7%, a February report that the PPI was 0.5% higher, with prices for finished wholesale goods on average 1.4% higher, while margins of final services providers increased by 0.1%, a revised January report that still has the PPI 1.3% higher, with average prices for finished wholesale goods now rising 1.6%, while margins of final services providers increased by 1.1%, and a re-revised December report that indicates the PPI was up 0.3%, with prices for finished wholesale goods up 0.9% while margins of final services providers were unchanged on an unadjusted basis, producer prices are now 6.2% higher than a year ago, up from the 4.2% year over year increase indicated by last month’s report, while, the core producer price index, which excludes food, energy and trade services, rose by 0.7% for the month, and is now 4.6% higher than in April a year ago, up from the 3.1% year over year increase as was shown in February…

April’s consumer and producer prices, etc.

April’s consumer and producer prices, retail sales, and industrial production; March business inventories and JOLTS, Commenter RJS, Market Watch 666

Retail Sales Unchanged in April after Big Revisions to Prior Months’ Sales

Seasonally adjusted retail sales were statistically unchanged in April, after retail sales March were revised higher, while sales for February were revised much lower. The Advance Retail Sales Report for April (pdf) from the Census Bureau estimated that our seasonally adjusted retail and food services sales totaled $619.9 billion for the month, which was virtually unchanged (±0.5 percent)* from revised March sales of $619.8 billion, but 51.2 percent (± 0.7 percent) above the adjusted sales of April of last year.

March sales were originally reported at $619.1 billion, up 9.8% from February; they are now indicated to have risen 10.7% to $619.8 billion because February adjusted sales were concurrently revised from $563.7 billion to $559.97 billion. The net of those revisions to February and March sales would reduce first quarter sales by about a $12 billion annual rate and subtract about 0.24 percentage points, give or take, from 1st quarter GDP when the 2nd estimate is released at the end of the month . . .estimated unadjusted sales, extrapolated from surveys of a small sampling of retailers, indicated nominal dollar sales fell 2.1%, from $629,941 million in March to $616,697 million in April, while they were up 51.4% from the $407,227 million of sales in April a year ago….

We are again including below the table of monthly and yearly percentage changes in sales by business type, taken from the Census marts pdf

Record High Trade Deficit

Trade Deficit Increases 5.6% to Record High in March on Rising Imports of Consumer Goods, MarketWatch666, Commenter RJS

Our trade deficit was at another record high in March, 5.6% higher than in February, as both our imports and exports increased, but our imports increased by more. The Commerce Department’s report on our international trade in goods and services for March indicated that our seasonally adjusted goods and services trade deficit rose by $3.9 billion to $74.4 billion in March, from a February deficit that was revised from the originally reported record $71.1 billion to $70.5 billion. In rounded totals, the value of our March exports rose by $12.4 billion to $200.0 billion on a $11.7 billion increase to $142.9 billion in our exports of goods and a $0.8 billion increase to $57.1 billion in our exports of services, while our imports rose by $16.4 billion to $274.5 billion on a $15.3 billion increase to $234.4 billion in our imports of goods and a $1.1 billion increase to $40.0 billion in our imports of services. Export prices averaged 2.1% higher in March, which means the change in our real exports was less than than the nominal increase by that percentage, while import prices were 1.2% higher, meaning that our real imports were likewise smaller than than their nominal value by that percentage…

Retail Sales Rose 9.8% in March as Consumers Spent Stimulus Checks

March consumer prices, retail sales, industrial production, & new home construction; February’s business inventories RJS at MarketWatch 666

Seasonally adjusted retail sales increased by 9.8% in March, the second largest jump on record, after retail sales for January and February were both revised higher…the Advance Retail Sales Report for March (pdf) from the Census Bureau estimated that our seasonally adjusted retail and food services sales totaled a record high $619.1 billion during the month, which was up by 9.8 percent (±0.5%) from February’s revised sales of $529.3 billion and 27.7 percent (±0.7 percent) above the adjusted sales in March of last year… February’s seasonally adjusted sales were revised from $561.7 billion to $563.7 billion, while January’s sales were revised from $579.1 billion to $579.552 billion; as a result, the percent change from January to February was revised from down 3.0 percent (±0.5 percent) to down 2.7 percent (±0.2 percent)….estimated unadjusted sales, extrapolated from surveys of a small sampling of retailers, indicated sales were actually up 27.3%, from $493,085 million in February to $627,885 million in March, while they were up 30.4% from the $481,513 million of sales in March of a year ago…

Included below is the table of the monthly and yearly percentage changes in retail sales by business type taken from the March Census Marts pdf….the first double column of this table shows us the seasonally adjusted percentage change in sales for each kind of business from the February revised figure to this month’s March “advance” report in the first sub-column, and then the year over year percentage sales change since last March in the 2nd column; the second double column pair below gives us the revision of the February advance estimates (now called “preliminary”) as of this report, with the new January to February percentage change under “Jan 2021 r” (revised) and the February 2020 to February 2021 percentage change as revised in the 2nd column of that pair…(for your reference, our copy of this same table from the advance February estimate, before this month’s revisions, is here)…. lastly, the third pair of columns shows the percentage change of the first 3 months of this year’s sales (January, February and March) from the preceding three months of the 4th quarter (October thru December) and from the same three months of the 1st quarter a year ago….as you can see from that fifth column, overall retail sales for the 1st quarter of 2021 were roughly 7.7% higher than the 4th quarter of 2019, which implies that nominal personal consumption of goods for the 1st quarter will be up by roughly the same amount, before any inflation adjustments…

Retail Sales Fell 3.0% in February After January Sales Were Revised 1.9% Higher

Commenter r. j. s. at MarketWatch666

Retail Sales Fell 3.0% in February After January Sales Were Revised 1.9% Higher

Seasonally adjusted retail sales decreased 3.0% in February after retail sales for January were revised 1.9% higher . . . the Advance Retail Sales Report for February (pdf) from the Census Bureau estimated that our seasonally adjusted retail and food services sales totaled $561.7 billion during the month, which was 3.0 percent (±0.5%) lower than January’s revised sales of $579.1 billion, but still 6.3 percent (±0.7 percent) above the adjusted sales in February of last year…January’s seasonally adjusted sales were revised up from $568.2 billion to $579.1 billion, while December’s sales were revised from $539.7 billion down to $538,338 million; as a result, the December to January change was revised up from up 5.3 percent (±0.5 percent) to up 7.6% (±0.3%) . . . the downward revisions to December sales would indicate that 4th quarter personal consumption expenditures will be revised lower at about a $5.5 billion annual rate, which would thereby reduce 4th quarter GDP by about 0.11 percentage points…estimated unadjusted sales, extrapolated from surveys of a small sampling of retailers, indicated sales were down 5.4%, from $519,588 million in January to $491,356 million in February, while they were up 2.4% from the $479,868 million of sales in February of a year ago . . .  

Producer Prices rose 0.5% in February

Commenter and writer RJS (Marketwatch666) reports on February Producer Prices.

Producer Prices rose 0.5% in February on Higher Wholesale Food & Energy Prices

The seasonally adjusted Producer Price Index (PPI) for final demand rose 0.5% in February, as prices for finished wholesale goods were on average 1.4% higher, while margins of final services providers increased by 0.1%…that followed a January report that had the PPI 1.3% higher, with average prices for finished wholesale goods rising 1.4%, while margins of final services providers increased by 1.3%, a December report that indicated the PPI was up 0.3%, with prices for finished wholesale goods up 1.0% while margins of final services providers were 0.1% lower, a revised November report that now shows the PPI was unchanged, with prices for finished wholesale goods rising 0.4% while margins of final services providers decreased 0.3%, and a revised October report that now indicates the PPI was 0.6% higher, with prices for finished wholesale goods rising 0.5% and margins of final services providers rising 0.7%….on an unadjusted basis, producer prices are now 2.8% higher than a year ago, up from the 1.7% year over year increase indicated by last month’s report, while, the core producer price index, which excludes food, energy and trade services, rose by 0.2% for the month, and is now 2.2% higher than in February a year ago, up from the 2.0% year over year increase as was shown in January…

CPI Rose 0.4% in February on Higher Prices for Energy and Medical Services

Commenter R.J.S. Discuses CPI Rising led by Food, Energy, and Medical

The consumer price index rose 0.4% in February, as higher prices for fuel, groceries, utilities, and medical services were only partly offset by lower prices for clothing, used vehicles, and airline fares…the Consumer Price Index Summary from the Bureau of Labor Statistics indicated that seasonally adjusted prices averaged 0.4% higher in February, after rising by 0.3% in January, 0.2% in December, 0.2% in November, 0.1% in October, 0.2% in September, 0.4% in August, by 0.5% in July and by 0.5% in June, after falling by 0.1% in May, falling by 0.7% in April and by 0.3% in March, but after rising by 0.1% in February of last year….the unadjusted CPI-U index, which was set with prices of the 1982 to 1984 period equal to 100, rose from 261.582 in January to 263.014 in February, which left it statistically 1.6762% higher than the 258.678 reading of February of last year, which is reported as a 1.7% year over year increase, up from the 1.4% year over year increase reported a month ago….with higher prices for energy and foods both factors in the overall index increase, seasonally adjusted core prices, which exclude food and energy, were up just 0.1% for the month, as the unadjusted core price index rose from 269.755 to 270.696, which left the core index 1.2826% ahead of its year ago reading of 267.268, which is reported as a 1.3% year over year increase, down from the 1.4% year over year core price increase that was reported for January and the 1.6% the year over year core price increase that was reported for December…

January Exports and Imports

Commenter RJS, MarketWatch 666 on the Goods and Services Trade Deficit.

International Trade in Goods and Services, March 5, 2021

Our trade deficit rose 1.9% in January, as both the value of our exports and our imports increased, but the value of our imports increased by more…the Commerce Dept report on our international trade in goods and services for January indicated that our seasonally adjusted goods and services trade deficit rose by a rounded $1.2 billion to a rounded $68.2 billion in January, from a December deficit that was revised from $66.6 billion to $67.0 billion….the value of our January exports rose by $1.8 billion to $191.9 billion as a $2.1 billion increase to $135.7 billion in our exports of goods was partly offset by a decrease of $0.3 billion to $56.3 billion in our exports of services, while our imports rose by $3.1 billion to $260.2 billion as a $3.4 billion increase to $221.1 billion in our imports of goods was partly offset by a $0.3 billion decrease to $39.0 billion in our imports of services…export prices averaged 2.5% higher in January, which means the relative real increase in exports for the month was less than the nominal increase by that percentage, while import prices averaged 1.4% higher, meaning the increase in real imports was smaller than the nominal dollar decrease reported here by that percentage……

Producer Prices rose 1.3% in January After Rising 0.8% over All of 2020

Commenter and writer RJS describes himself as “unencumbered by education, affiliations, beliefs or agenda and im not advocating anything.” Market Watch 666


The seasonally adjusted Producer Price Index (PPI) for final demand rose 1.3% in January, as prices for finished wholesale goods were on average 1.4% higher, while margins of final services providers increased by 1.3%  .  .  .  that followed a revised December report that now shows the PPI was up 0.3%, with prices for finished wholesale goods up 1.0% while margins of final services providers were 0.1% lower, a revised November report that shows the PPI was 0.1% higher, with prices for finished wholesale goods rising 0.3% while margins of final services providers decreased 0.2%, a revised October report that indicates the PPI was 0.5% higher, with prices for finished wholesale goods rising 0.6% and margins of final services providers rising 0.5%, and a revised September report that indicates the PPI was 0.3% higher, with prices for finished wholesale goods 0.4% higher and margins of final services providers 0.2% higher . . . revisions to prior reports with this release reflect the routine annual recalculation of seasonal adjustment factors and affect previously published seasonally adjusted indexes and percent changes for January 2016 through December 2020; it appears that at least part of the reason for the large jump in January producer prices was due a recalibration of weight allocations used to calculate the overall indexes to more accurately reflect recent sales patterns, which would have thus increased the weighting of commodities and services in greatest demand  .  .  .  on an unadjusted basis, producer prices are now 1.7% higher than a year ago, up from the 0.8% year over year increase indicated by last month’s report, while, the core producer price index, which excludes food, energy and trade services, rose by 1.2% for the month, and is now 2.0% higher than in January a year ago, up from the 1.1% year over year increase as was shown in December .