"Economists are pessimists: they've predicted 8 of the last 3 depressions." --Barry Asmus
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U.S. import prices declined 0.6 percent in October, after recording no change in September. Decreasing prices for both nonfuel and fuel imports contributed to the October drop. Export prices fell 2.1 percent in October, the largest monthly decline since a 2.2 percent decrease in December 2008.
International Trade is one of those justifiably influential reports. Even if you've never paid attention to it before, you've heard of it. Of course, if you don't follow the economic indicators, you've probably heard of it under a different name: the US trade deficit. And that's exactly what International Trade is: the difference in total dollars between what we import and what we export. In theory, it could be a trade surplus as well, but that hasn't been seen since 1975 (when our trade surplus was $12.5 billion).
Why is this influential, though? Well, it directly impacts gross domestic product, which is the sum of government spending plus private sector spending plus consumer spending plus trade surplus. So, if we have a shrinking trade deficit, that directly implies a growing GDP. Of course, if the trade deficit expands, that directly implies a shrinking GDP. And since GDP is used as a direct measure of the overall health of our economy, that means a growing trade deficit is a bad thing.
The August trade deficit was reported at $45.6 billion. For September, the Econoday-surveyed analysts are expecting to see it grow in size to a level of $46.3 billion, with a range between $44.2 billion and $49.5 billion.
Well, it's Thursday. And if it's Thursday, that means it's time for the First Time Jobless Claims report!
To start with, let's recap last week. The advance figure for initial claims for the week ending 10/29 came in at 397,000 (which beat the expected 400,000 new claims), and the advance figure for actual initial claims came in at 366,923. Meanwhile, the total number of people claiming benefits in all programs (for the week ending 10/15) came in at 6,781,690.
So that was the past. And while we wait with baited breath for the release of the report, let's see what the Econoday-surveyed analysts are forecasting. Their consensus estimate is the same as last week: 400,000 new claims, with a range of anywhere from 394,000 to 410,000.