THE BASIS POINT

Fundamentals 8/16: Chart-Fest On Housing, Consumer, Manufacturing Stats

Housing Starts
-Starts – Level – Seasonally Adjusted Annual Rate (SAAR) – 604,000.
-Previous was 629,000.
-Permits – Level – SAAR 597,000. Previous was 624,000.
Housing Starts

The housing sector is an important part of the economy because housing construction creates so many other jobs, most of them domestic. The lack of sustained recovery may be due to many factors: high unemployment, no concern that prices are rising, increased listings of existing homes by owners who see little chance of appreciation and much tougher mortgage qualification standards which reduces demand.

If the headship ratio (persons/household) stayed the same we would need about 1,250,000 Housing Starts/year to accommodate population growth. We would also need, on the average, 250,000 units/year to to make up for scrappage, Scrappage is units lost to fire or natural disaster or destroyed because they are no longer functional. One point which may be lost at present is that when economic recovery occurs there will likely be another housing boom to make up the supply which we are not creating at present.

Manufacturing
Industrial Production (July) – Month/Month +0.9 %
Industrial Production

Capacity Utilization Rate (July) – Level 77.5%

Capacity Utilization

This manufacturing data is stronger than expected. To some extent this is only an improvement over weak data for May.

Import/Export Prices

Export Prices – Month/Month change -0.4 %
Export Prices – Year/Year change 9.8 %
Import Prices – Month/Month change +0.3 %
Import Prices – Year/Year change 14.0 %

In plain English: oil prices were up for the month and agricultural prices were down 4.3%.

This is a graph with imports in grey bars and scale of Y-axis on left and exports in the red line with scale of Y-axis on the right.

Import/Export Prices
Retail

ICSC-Goldman Store Sales

Store Sales – Week/Week change -1.5 %
Store Sales – Year/Year +3.5 %

Consumer Metrics Absolute Demand Index

This index of online discretionary spending also turned down last week. Clearly Consumer Spending was negatively impacted by Wall Street volatility.

Absolute Demand Index