US Economic Chartbook
Please see our Economic Chartbook for a discussion of next week's economic releases provided in a visually friendly format that includes graphs, brief descriptions of SMR's forecasts, and reviews of last weeks data.
SMRA Beige Book Activity Index held at 1.00 in October report
The SMRA Beige Book Activity Index (BBAI) held at 1.00, the same reading as the prior two Beige Books. The steady index level came despite some impacts from the series of hurricanes that battered states along the Gulf Coast and Southeast. The Beige Book said, "The Richmond, Atlanta, and Dallas Districts reported major disruptions from Hurricanes Harvey and Irma in some areas and sectors, including transportation, energy, and agriculture." However, overall economic conditions kept regional economies on a path of modest to moderate growth. Regional economies appear to be resilient to short-term shocks.
Pick a Study, Any Study; Health Care Back in the Mix
The GOP tax plan should clear another hurdle this week with passage of a budget resolution in the Senate. The Administration's effort to use a controversial study to sell a corporate tax cut as a boon to all workers may be a preview of things to come. Meanwhile, President Trump's decision to cut off payments to health insurers adds another variable to this fall's policy debates and may increase the risk of a government shutdown.
Research Briefing - Race for next Fed Chair becomes musical chairs
We have updated our odds for the next Fed Chair following press reports that President Trump was very impressed with candidate John Taylor after meeting with him. We have raised Taylor's odds to 20% (previously we saw just 5% probability). Concurrently we have sharply lowered Kevin Warsh's odds to 15% (previously he was the leading contender at 40%). Warsh's standing has diminished following sharp attacks by a wide array of notably economists including Scott Sumner, Tim Duy and Paul Krugman regarding his erroneous views that asset purchases will lead to high inflation and fiscal austerity in the aftermath of the financial crisis was the right macroeconomic prescription.
Research Briefing - Stores and shippers are hiring -- will consumers spend?
We expect consumers to be generous spenders this holiday season, as we forecast holiday sales to rise a solid 3.8% this year. A strong labor market, rebounding wage growth, ebullient consumer sentiment, and a record-high equity market provide the positive underpinnings. Adding further support, there will be 31 shopping days between Thanksgiving and Christmas -- the most since 32 in 2012. However, it isn't clear if brick-and-mortar outlets are anticipating a longer and more active holiday period. More clear, on-line retailers are likely to reap more of the activity even if it is at the expense of traditional stores. Transportation companies are gearing up for a spike in warehouses to home deliveries.