North America

  • 2020-01-16 13:27


    By Jean Yung

    WASHINGTON (MNI) - The U.S. Department of Labor will ban journalists from using computers during the 30 minutes they are typically given to view reports ahead of release time, an effort to eliminate any unfair competitive advantage for certain high-speed algorithmic trading firms who subscribe to media feeds.

    The change is effective March 1, Bureau of Labor Statistics Commissioner William Beach said.

    "These updated procedures will strengthen the security of our data and offer the general public equitable and timely access," Beach said in a letter to media dated Thursday.

  • 2020-01-16 10:00


    By Evan Ryser

    WASHINGTON (MNI) - National indicators suggest a positive outlook for the housing sector over the next several quarters despite headwinds due to tight labor markets hitting some building companies and a declining presence of community banks, Federal Reserve Board Governor Michelle Bowman said Thursday.

    The economy is in a good place with a baseline outlook for continued moderate growth over the next few years, Bowman said. Unemployment is expected to remain low and inflation though it has been muted is expected to rise gradually to the FOMC's 2% objective.

    "I remain optimistic about the outlook for housing," Bowman said before the Home Builders Association of Greater Kansas City.

  • 2020-01-15 14:00


    WASHINGTON (MNI) - The following is the text of the summary section of the Federal Reserve's summary of economic conditions report, or Beige Book, released Wednesday:

    Overall Economic Activity

    Ecconomic activity generally continued to expand modestly in the final six weeks of 2019. The Dallas and Richmond Districts noted above-average growth, while Philadelphia, St. Louis, and Kansas City reported sub-par growth. Consumer spending grew at a modest to moderate pace, with a number of Districts noting some pickup from the prior reporting period. On balance, holiday sales were said to be solid, with several Districts noting the growing importance of online shopping. Vehicle sales generally expanded moderately, though a handful of Districts reported flat sales.

  • 2020-01-15 11:19


    --Sales-To-New-Listings Ratio At Lowest Since 2004, Realtors Say

    OTTAWA (MNI) - Canada's home price gains are poised to quicken this year with the supply of properties for sale at its lowest in more than a decade, which could raise alarms for a central bank wary of froth returning to the market.

    The 4.2 months of inventory of homes for sale in December was the lowest since mid-2007, and more than a month below the long-run average, the Canadian Real Estate Association said Wednesday.

    "Its current reading suggests that sales negotiations are becoming increasingly tilted in favor of sellers," the CREA report said.

  • 2020-01-15 00:00


    --New EU Trade Czar's First Meeting With US Comes a Day After Phase One Signing

    WASHINGTON (MNI) - The European Union's new trade commissioner Phil Hogan will meet with U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer Thursday in Washington and seek to avoid a trade war over France's digital tax and farm subsidies.

    It's Hogan's first trip to the U.S. as the EU's trade chief, having served previously as Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development. The visit comes a day after President Donald Trump and top Chinese officials are due to sign a Phase One trade agreement.

  • 2020-01-14 16:29


    By Evan Ryser

    KANSAS CITY (MNI) - Kansas City Fed President Esther George is not ready to endorse controlling the yield curve as a way to counter any downturn and bring inflation back to target.

    George said Tuesday policymakers are "likely to find themselves looking deep into the policy toolkit to fight future recessionary shocks."

    Asked by the audience what tools would be needed in a downturn and whether that includes quantitative easing and forward guidance, George said: "In a perfect world neither of those are completely satisfactory to us, but obviously there are things ...

  • 2020-01-13 10:05


    By Jean Yung

    WASHINGTON (MNI) - Inflation could accelerate by more than forecasters currently expect if firms are unwilling to absorb rising wages in a tight labor market, Boston Federal Reserve Bank President Eric Rosengren warned Monday.

    Both private forecasters and Fed officials project a positive view for 2020, with growth near potential, inflation returning to the Fed's 2% target and a strong job market, Rosengren said. But the risk of inflation building more quickly than it has, as well as low rates pushing investors to chase profits in the real estate sector, pose risks to this outlook.

  • 2020-01-09 15:35


    By Jean Yung

    RICHMOND, VA. (MNI) - Richmond Fed President Tom Barkin is open to studying ways to ensure smooth operating money markets such as reducing the volatility of the Treasury General Account, tailoring liquidity regulations and creating a standing repo facility.

    While he has yet to see evidence the liquidity crunch in money markets late last year was driven by liquidity regulation, "I'd certainly be open to appropriate tailoring if that makes sense," he told reporters Thursday on the sidelines of a Virginia Bankers Association luncheon.

  • 2020-01-08 10:09


    By Greg Quinn

    OTTAWA (MNI) - The Bank of Canada will publish a new consumer sentiment survey starting on Monday to help figure out if policy makers are meeting their mandate of keeping inflation at 2%.

    The first quarterly survey will be released at 10:30am EST alongside its Business Outlook Survey, the BOC said in a statement Wednesday from Ottawa. It will cover questions about inflation expectations, the job market and household finances, and the format is similar to polling done by the New York Fed.

    Survey results about price expectations fill a gap with more general questions in other private surveys of the consumer outlook.

  • 2020-01-07 16:10


    By Brooke Migdon

    WASHINGTON (MNI) - Distributors of European specialty foods and goods urged the U.S. Trade Representative to put an end to the digital tax dispute with France Tuesday, asserting the counter measures proposed by the U.S. government have little to do with the distribution of information or communication technologies.

    Hearing witnesses said the United States' proposed retaliatory tariffs of up to 100% on wine, cheese, handbags and other French products totaling $2.4 billion would threaten their bottom lines and cause consumer costs to skyrocket.

    "I can't think of a single instance where that cost wouldn't be passed on," said Joanna Rosenberg of Zwilling J.A.