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The Atlanta Fed's macroblog provides commentary and analysis on economic topics including monetary policy, macroeconomic developments, inflation, labor economics, and financial issues.

Authors for macroblog are Dave Altig, John Robertson, and other Atlanta Fed economists and researchers.


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April 26, 2005


In The News Today

Record new home sales get the treatment at Calculated Risk and at Global Trader's Diary, the latter linking to the essentials from Bloomberg...

Purchases rose 12.2 percent to a 1.431 million annual rate in March following a 1.275 million pace in February, the Commerce Department said today in Washington...

The median price fell to $212,300 in March from $234,100 a month earlier. Compared with the same month last year, the median price is up 1.3 percent.

which elicited this response from GTD:

I have looked through the past median price data and am less convinced the price drop means anything. I have a natural contrarian reaction when I read the word "record" relating to monthly % changes though. The better interpretation is probably that if the U.S. consumer is hitting some sort of wall it has not showed up in housing data yet.

If your looking for signs of the hitting of walls, Mark Thoma has the April consumer confidence report for you:

U.S. April Consumer Confidence Index Falls to 97.7 From 103 April 26 (Bloomberg) -- U.S. consumer confidence fell to a five-month low in April as record gasoline prices and doubts about job prospects threatened to slow the world's largest economy, a private survey showed…

If you are more interested in someone else's misery,  Angry Bear has the unwelcome -- but expected -- news about persistent Japanese deflation, via the Financial Times:

Consumer prices fell for a seventh straight year in the 12 months to end-March 2005, confirming that the economy remains stuck in deflation in spite of three years of stop-start growth.

The decline in the core consumer price index, of 0.2 per cent, was far less severe than the 0.8 per cent of the previous two years.

The Skeptical Spectator reports on several of these stories, as well as the gloomy story from Germany reported here yesterday.

But let's end on a positive note.  Knowledge Problem heralds the awarding of the John Bates Clark award for the best economist under the age of 40 to MIT's Daron Acemoglu, and links to a nice discussion of Daron's work at economicprinciples.com.  (And here's a post from the past just to prove I really am one of Daron's longtime fans.)

UPDATE: Calculated Risk has an update on the new home sales.

April 26, 2005 in Data Releases | Permalink

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Another story on Germany in the NYTimes:
Fears Mount That Germany Faces Recession
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/04/27/business/worldbusiness/27germany.html

Posted by: CalculatedRisk | April 27, 2005 at 12:41 AM

Further news of the expanding recovery in Europe, following up on the IFO german survey released a few days ago.

INSEE, the French statistical institute, reported today the results of its monthly survey of manufacturing opinion. The synthetic indicator fell from 101 to 97 in April.

Opinion on general prospects for the economy fell to -18 from an average - 4 during the first quarter of 2005.

Opinion on own prospects kept falling as well to +2 from +6 in March. They have been falling since December was the figure was +15. Inventories are judged heavy, orders are low, etc...Numbers such as these usually suggest something serious in the making.

French officials, who face a difficult referendum on May 29th, maintained forecasts of 2% to 2.5% GDP growth in 2005.

Posted by: godement | April 27, 2005 at 10:29 AM

"the European Central Bank may lower its benchmark interest rate this year, hurting demand for the euro, according to Goldman Sachs Group Inc"

" ``We expect a rate cut in the third quarter,'' said Thomas Stolper, a global markets economist in London at Goldman"

" Goldman's ECB forecast contrasts with those of all 29 economists in a Bloomberg survey published April 1"

From Bloomberg, April 17th, 2005.

Welcome to the club, Goldman Sachs. You read it on Macroblog first.

Posted by: godement | April 27, 2005 at 10:55 AM

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