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The Federal Open Market Committee’s minutes released on Wednesday showed an extension of the committee’s wait-and-see approach, with most members preferring to clear the 2% inflation goal before increasing the federal funds rate. Some members however are looking to raise it in September, while one member was ready to raise it immediately. Household spending is described as “growing strongly” while the labor market is “strengthening” and the housing sector is expected to continue its gradual improvement.
July’s report on housing starts showed that housing starts were strong last month, mainly thanks to a whopping 5.0% increase in multi-family home starts, while single family home starts inched up 0.5%. The trend in permits, however, sent a mixed signal for the future. Multi-family permits were up 6.3%, while single-family permits, which are costlier to build, were down 3.7%. Overall the report contributes to a longer-term trend of halting growth in the housing sector.
Industrial production climbed 0.7% in July, boosting the capacity utilization rate by 0.5% to 75.9% (this measures actual economic output to potential output). The increase came from a broad array of industries, including vehicle production, high-tech, and other manufacturing industries, as well as utility production and mining.
Tues August 23 — New Home Sales (economic momentum indicator)
Fri August 26 — GDP (comprehensive economic indicator)