U.S.: Housing, manufacturing, consumption all weak

3 min
Dan North
Dan North Senior Economist for North America

In April, existing home sales fell for the ninth time in 12 months, losing -0.4% m/m and -4.4% y/y. One of the culprits was rising prices, which gained +2.9% m/m, the third straight increase, to +3.6% y/y. Housing permits rose +0.6% m/m in April, but it was only the first increase in four months, and the y/y rate is still down -5%. Starts rose +5.7% m/m, but again it was not enough to offset earlier losses which put the y/y rate at -2.5%. Other recent reports have also been soft. Manufacturing industrial production fell for the third time in three months, losing -0.5% m/m. The resulting y/y rate of -0.2% was the weakest in 32 months. Retail sales were also disappointing, falling -0.2% m/m to +3.1% y/y, less than half of what they were last April. After stripping out volatile items, core sales, which are direct input into the GDP calculation, were flat, putting the y/y rate to +2.9% as compared to +4.6% last April. The Administration lifted tariffs on steel and aluminum imports from Canada and Mexico, who in turn dropped retaliatory tariffs on certain U.S. imports.