Rates up slightly after Jobless Claims down, Trade Deficit up

Initial Jobless Claims  (week ended 10/6/2012)

– Initial Claims 339,000
– Previous was 369,000
– 4-week Moving Average 364,000

It looks as if the seasonal adjustments made the previous week worse.  Overall this data is indication of some improvement in the jobs market.

Trade Balance (August 2012)

This is the X-M (eXports – iMports) component of GDP.

– Trade Balance for August was -$44.2 billion. Higher oil prices, a weakening economy in the EU and slowing growth in Asia are responsible.  Oil prices move around.  The situation in the EU is likely to get worse.

Import/Export Prices (September 2012)
Export Prices – Month/Month +0.8%
Export Prices – Year/Year -0.5%
Import Prices – Month/Month +1.1%
Import Prices – Year/Year -0.6%

While these tend to spike due to supply abatements these are remarkably flat year/year with inflation well contained.

Speaking of inflation, I want to point to something which is quite remarkable and getting little media attention.  As a consequence of sanctions Iran is now experiencing hyperinflation. Hyperinflation is defined as an increase in CPI of greater that 50% per year.  Steve Hanke of Johns Hopkins has written several excellent pieces on this. See this one for example.

Treasury auctions continue today and were very strong yesterday.  This is a good sign for continued low Treasury yields and mortgage rates.