As expected the Federal Reserve raised the Fed Funds rate from a range of 1.75%-2.0% to a range of 2.0%-2.25%. The “dot plot” showed that 12 of 16 FOMC members now believe that the Fed Funds rate at the end of 2018 will be in the range of 2.25%-2.50%, strongly implying that another hike in December is very likely.
In addition to yesterday’s upgrade to GDP, the same report showed a sharp uptick in y/y profits to 16.1%, the most in 6.5 yrs. Apparently the corporate tax cut helped because taxes have now fallen a steep 33% y/y, the most in 9.5 years.
Recent U.S. data depict a robust economy. The consumer finally returned as retail sales rose for the first time in four months, gaining +0.6% m/m to a +4.5% y/y rate. Auto sales rose +2.0% m/m after four straight months of declines which were caused by hurricane replacement sales in the fall. Core retail sales rose +0.4% m/m, the first increase in four months to a firm +3.8% y/y.
Since 1996, Dan North has been with Euler Hermes, the world’s oldest and largest credit insurance company. As the company’s chief economist for North America, he uses macroeconomic and quantitative analyses to help manage Euler Hermes’ risk portfolio of more than $250 billion in annual trade transactions within the region.
As one of the leading U.S. economists, Dan North has appeared on CNBC, Fox Business News, ABC News Now, France 24, and Bloomberg Radio and Television. He has been quoted by USA Today, Barron’s, Bloomberg Business Week, The Washington Post, Paris Le Monde, and The Wall Street Journal. After having predicted the 2008/2009 recession and its implications accurately, Dan North was ranked 4th on Bloomberg’s list of the 65 top economic forecasters in 2010.