The retail sales numbers that were out today for the holidays were good...but they are somewhat backwards looking. The following are more forward looking and are more confirmation that the overall economy is slowing (just as everyone except Stephen Moore, Kevin Hassert and Larry Kudlow told you it would.)
Richmond Fed Factory Gauge Falls Most Ever as Shipments DropThe Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond’s manufacturing gauge fell by a record as shipments and new orders weakened, the fourth district bank factory index to drop this month and the latest evidence that President Donald Trump’s trade war is becoming a greater headwind for U.S. producers.
The Richmond Fed said Wednesday that its measure of factory activity across a swath of the eastern U.S. fell to minus 8, missing all economist estimates in a Bloomberg survey projecting an increase to 15. Levels greater than zero signal growth. The 22-point drop from the prior month was the most in data going back a quarter century.
Other recent data showed the Kansas City Fed’s index of manufacturing in the district fell to a two-year low in December. The New York Fed’s Empire State survey and Philadelphia’s report are the lowest in more than 18 months.
Economists also are projecting a fifth Fed manufacturing index to retreat this month. The Dallas reserve bank’s Texas Manufacturing Outlook Survey, due for release on Dec. 31, will decline to an 18-month low of 17, according to Bloomberg’s survey, from 17.6 in November.