- The U.S. labor market remained stable, and consumer confidence continued amid falling prices. Overseas, U.K. consumer prices dropped to historic lows, while eurozone production and trade both gained significantly.
- Retail sales fell short of expectations in December, declining almost 1% from the prior month. However, the move lower was significantly less when excluding the autos and gas component.
- Industrial production slowed by 0.1% in December, mainly in utilities, reversing November’s 1.3% gain. However, the manufacturing component remained above estimates.
- The Philadelphia Federal Reserve’s (Fed) business conditions survey indicated a manufacturing falloff in January for the second consecutive month, while the six-month outlook remained optimistic. Continued strength in new orders contrasted with a contraction in shipments.
- Initial jobless claims increased for the week ending January 10, to the highest level since September. Continuing claims, reflecting delayed data, decreased during the week of January 3.
- The number of job openings increased slightly in November from October, coming in at just under five million, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.
- Annualized inflation was driven to the slowest pace in over five years in December, thanks to plummeting energy prices.
- Producer prices contracted by 0.3% in December yet were flat when excluding the less-volatile food and energy components.
- An unexpected interest-rate drop sent mortgage applications soaring in the week ending January 9—reaching their highest rate since August 2013, largely on refinancing activity.
- Consumer sentiment reached the highest point since 2004 in December, according to the University of Michigan, mainly on improved employment and income expectations.
- U.K. consumer prices were unchanged in December. While the headline annual inflation rate fell to the lowest level since it was first published in 1989, core prices (excluding alcohol, tobacco and food) rose.
- Eurozone industrial production gained for the third straight month in November, exceeding projections. Average output in October and November already outpaced third-quarter results, and is expected to contribute to fourth-quarter economic growth.
- China’s merchandise trade surplus increased significantly in 2014, although it declined in December from the prior month. A reduction in imports indicates weakening domestic demand, consistent with declining producer prices.
- Producer prices decreased in Japan during December against projections for a flat month. Prices for electronic devices and components decreased, while food and textiles advanced.
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