Mortgage Purchase Apps, EU Retail Sales, Payroll Tax, ADP, Trade, Equity Comment

While still historically very low, purchase apps are now way up over last year’s particularly depressed levels. Some are replacing all cash buyers, but the increase is also in line with increased existing home sales.

While new home sales were soft, turnover of existing homes has been increasing, and while not directly increasing GDP, existing home sales are generally associated with purchases of furniture, appliances, and other home improvements, and of course real estate commissions.

MBA Mortgage Applications

A drop in rates helped boost mortgage activity in the July 31 week both for home purchases, up 3.0 percent in the week, and for refinancing which rose 6.0 percent. The strength in purchase applications, which are up 23 percent vs this time last year, is a positive indication for home sales. The average 30-year fixed mortgage for conforming loans ($417,000 or less) fell 4 basis points in the week to 4.13 percent.


EU retail sales

European Union : Retail Sales

Retail sales were surprisingly weak in June. A 0.6 percent monthly fall was the first decline since March and followed a slightly smaller revised 0.1 percent rise in May. Annual workday adjusted growth of purchases was 1.2 percent, down from 2.6 percent in both mid-quarter and April.

June’s setback was primarily attributable to a 0.8 percent monthly drop in sales of food, drink and tobacco. Non-food products, excluding auto fuel, were off only 0.2 percent, although even this was enough to wipe out May’s entire rise. Fuel purchases were flat on the month after a 0.2 percent dip last time.

Regionally, headline weakness was dominated by a 2.3 percent monthly slump in Germany although Spain (minus 0.4 percent) also struggled. More promisingly, France (0.1 percent) saw sales increase for a third consecutive period and there were decent gains in Austria (1.3 percent), Belgium, Latvia and Lithuania (all 0.8 percent) and Estonia (0.7 percent).

The June data make for a second quarter increase in Eurozone retail sales of only 0.3 percent, less than a third of the rate achieved in the previous period and just half of the fourth quarter pace. This does not bode well for real GDP growth. Moreover, the EU Commission’s economic sentiment survey found consumer sentiment falling in July so it may be that the third quarter got off to a less than robust start too. That said, Greek developments are clearly having some impact and a more concrete resolution of the crisis there might be enough to get households happy to spend again.

Big drop in Federal withholding:


Lower than expected, and June revised down a bit as well, all in line with many recent surveys:

ADP Employment Report

Mark Zandi, chief economist of Moody’s Analytics, said, “Job growth is strong, but it has moderated since the beginning of the year. Layoffs in the energy industry and weaker job gains in manufacturing are behind the slowdown. Nonetheless, even at this slower pace of growth, the labor market is fast approaching full employment.”
Read more at Calculated Risk Blog

About as expected with last month’s revision:

United States : International Trade

Seems the drop in oil prices has been offset by non oil imports, as the trade deficit is looking somewhat wider:


Both exports and imports are down which indicates a weakening global economy:


The chart shows the trend of the non petroleum deficit has resumed it’s increase:

The blue line is the total deficit, and the black line is the petroleum deficit, and the red line is the trade deficit ex-petroleum products (wild swings earlier this year were due to West Coast port slowdown).
Read more at Calculated Risk Blog

Didn’t know we exported any consumer goods!

Exports (Exhibits 3, 6, and 7) Exports of goods decreased $0.2 billion to $127.6 billion in June. Exports of goods on a Census basis decreased $0.5 billion. • Capital goods decreased $0.8 billion. o Telecommunications equipment decreased $0.3 billion. • Industrial supplies and materials decreased $0.6 billion. o Finished metal shapes decreased $0.3 billion. Consumer goods increased $0.8 billion.

Stocks up because jobs were weak and a fed spokesman thought the economy was too weak for a rate hike. ;)

Futures jump on ADP miss, Powell comments

By Jenny Cosgrave

August 5 (CNBC)