Both PPI and CPI came in hotter than market expectations this week, posting up .4% and .5% on the headline prints, respectively. Looking at an annualized basis, PPI (price at the producer level) is up 2.7% on headline, and up 2.2% at the core. CPI (prices at the consumer level) is up 2.1% on headline, and up 1.8% at the core. Overall, some stronger results on inflation, keeping expectations for more acceleration throughout the rest of the year steady on pace. Although the markets still need to see more data ahead for further confirmation, levels in the sectors remain steady in place. Maybe more importantly, they are right in line with the Fed’s 2% inflation mandate, thus leaving them right on track for another rate hike at the March meeting.
Retail Sales for January came in softer than market consensus, posting a .3% loss. If we strip out autos and energy (core), we see a .2% decline. Important to also note that there was a revision to the initial level for December, taking a previously reported +.4% gain down to unchanged from the previous month. The release for January will certainly have its affect, most likely pulling back GDP in Q4 2017 to a lower level.
Housing Starts surged in January, posting up 9.7% to a 1.326mln unit rate. The release is higher from an upwardly revised 1.209mln unit rate back in December. January starts by region show increases of +45.5% in the Northeast, +10.7% in the West, and +9.3% in the South. The only decline came from the Midwest, falling 10.2%. Looking at Building Permits, we also saw a strong level for January, up 7.4% to a 1.396mln unit rate. Permits continue to suggest that the starts rate will continue to drift higher in the coming months.
So, after what has been another wild ride this week, we think it’s safe to say that we are all looking forward to the long 3-day weekend as the markets are closed on Monday! While we received a little bit of relief in Friday’s session that was favorable for the bond market, we are not out of the woods just yet. To really get bond market technicians “comfortable” again that a high yield has been put in place, the 10yr would need to see a close back around ~2.68% or lower, which we know, sounds like a lifetime away from current levels. That close would fundamentally shift the trend back in favor of the Bulls over the short- to medium-term outlook, and would be a very nice move lower in rates. From a technical perspective, we are setting the short-term trading range for the 10yr at ~2.80-2.94%, and those are the extremes you all should be watching. Rally one day, sell-off the next. It’s the pattern that we still need to be prepared for with the amount of volatility that remains in this marketplace. For now, the bounce back to some better rates/pricing to end the week is definitely one to “put a ring on,” taking full advantage of what’s in front of you.
As we look ahead to next week, the calendar is much lighter with the only data highlights being those of the FOMC Minutes and Existing Home Sales, both releasing on Wednesday. We will also have more Treasury supply in the form of 2, 5, and 7yr note auctions starting on Tuesday.
On a different note, we are starting to see more condos being listed on the market. If you are a buyer that has been patiently watching the market, give me a call to go tour some great condos!
Brad Golik is a condominium specialist with Total Property Resources, LLC and LuxuryCondosofPortland.com . You can reach him at 503-896-8856 or at firstname.lastname@example.org