Economic data was light last week with just 10 releases (Durable Goods and New Home Sales did not release due to the shutdown); half of which came in worse while the rest came in at or above forecasts. After the MLK Jr. holiday Monday, we came back Tuesday to a poor reading in existing home sales which missed by the widest margin since November of 2015. More in housing data, alongside an uptick in FHFA House Prices was a decline in mortgage applications, although they were still strong. Wednesday’s Richmond Fed improved versus December but was still negative. Markit released their preliminary January PMIs on Thursday with a stronger reading, especially relative to weak global numbers released that same morning. Thursday’s report on Leading Indicators showed a slight decline (-0.1%) but was right inline with expectations.
This week activity picks up in a big way with over 30 indicators scheduled for release. Of note, today we get regional Fed activity indices. The Chicago Fed printed its first back to back monthly increase since October 2017. Meanwhile, the Dallas Fed came in stronger at +1 vs -2.1 forecasts. Those activity numbers will be followed up with the first release of Q4 GDP data and an FOMC rate decision (no change is expected) on Wednesday. After Chicago PMI and weekly jobless claims are released on Thursday, the nonfarm payrolls report for January will hit the tape at 8:30 AM ET on Friday.
Last week added two releases to the long list of 26 data points that have been postponed due to the closure of the government organizations responsible for the releases. Thankfully, we should return back to normal next week (no releases have yet to be rescheduled for this week) after lawmakers in Washington agreed to re-open the government last Friday afternoon. With the government re-opened, it is not as though all of the reports listed below will be released immediately. Depending on the department that collects the data, the schedule for release will vary. In some cases, the missed reports will be released on the same day of the next release, while preliminary will not be released at all.
At 34 days long, this shutdown far surpassed the previous record for longest shutdown (21 days) in 2013. The December readings on preliminary Durable Goods Orders and New Home Sales both were scheduled to be released Friday. For these two indicators, we are now missing their November and December data which is why there is no entry for the estimate and last reading of these indicators. These are not the only indicators to have missed two releases. Wholesale Inventories and the Trade Balance, for example, have missed preliminary and final outputs.