According to Richard Franulovich, head of FX strategy at Westpac, despite the interruption in US data due to partial government shutdown, there are plenty of alternative data sets to glean a few key insights about US growth.
“Alternative high frequency data sets whose release was unaffected by the showdown confirm that the US consumer is in excellent shape. Growth in the Johnson Redbook weekly same store sales index hit 6%+ ann in the new year, a pace rarely seen in the last two decades.”
“The near decade long decline in filings for unemployment benefits has stalled out in the new year too, but claims continue to hover near generational lows.”
“The mortgage market is stirring too; the recent decline in interest rates has triggered a jump in the MBA’s weekly mortgage applications index, albeit from depressed levels.”
“High frequency alternative data sets covering transport and distribution are more cautious, underscoring risks from weakening global growth and trade frictions.”
“Alternative data sets confirm that the US transitioned from overheating risks in mid-2018 to a softer patch in late Q4 and into the new year; weakness at the moment is more palpable in externally exposed sectors of the economy while the consumer and labour markets remain in relatively good shape.”
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