A slew of economic data was released this morning. We got a look at retail sales, wholesale inflation via producer prices, and also the Empire Manufacturing reading. Some data is more current than others.
The largest concern is wholesale inflation, via the Producer Price Index. The Labor Department showed that the PPI came to -0.2% on the headline number and only up by 0.1% in the core PPI that excludes food and energy. Bloomberg was calling for -0.1% on the headline and up 0.1% for the core PPI readings. The PPI was a December reading. This is sure to keep the inflation hawks at bay for another few months, because even if prices start to rise it will be some time before the readings begin to appear in the consumer side, or CPI.
The Empire State Manufacturing Survey, covering the New York Fed region, was much lower than expected, and this was a January figure. It declined marginally to -7.8 in January from -8.1 in December. Bloomberg was looking for a 0.0 reading. This was also worse than the entire range of estimates, as Bloomberg showed a range of -5.0 to as high as 9.0 for the month.
Generally, the reading on retail sales is somewhat known by the time it is released, but the December reading was a tad better than expected. The headline retail sales were up 0.5%, versus the Bloomberg consensus of 0.2%. November was revised slightly higher to 0.4% from 0.3%. Retail sales less auto sales were up 0.3%, and retail sales less autos and gas were up 0.6%.