MetroIntelligence Economic Update by P. DUFFY
Producer Price Index slips 0.1 percent in August, up 8.7 percent year-on-year
The Producer Price Index for final demand fell 0.1 percent in August after falling 0.4 percent in July, and rose 8.7 percent year-on-year. The monthly decrease in the index for final demand is attributable to a 1.2-percent decline in prices for final demand goods. In contrast, the index for final demand services advanced 0.4 percent. Prices for final demand less foods, energy, and trade services moved up 0.2 percent in August following a 0.1-percent rise in July, and rose 5.6 percent year-on-year.
August Small Business Optimism Index rises 1.9 points to 91.8
The NFIB Small Business Optimism Index rose 1.9 points in August to 91.8, marking the eighth consecutive month below the 48-year average of 98 but reversing some of the declines in the first half of the year. Small business owners expecting better business conditions over the next six months improved 10 points from July to a net negative 42%, the highest level since February 2022, but a dismal outlook. The net percent of owners raising average selling prices decreased three points to a net 53% (seasonally adjusted), still a very inflationary outcome. The net percent of owners who expect real sales to be higher increased 10 points from July to a net negative 19%, but owners still want to hire. The Uncertainty Index increased seven points to 74.
Purchase loan applications rise 0.2 percent from previous week but down 29 percent year-on-year
The Market Composite Index for mortgage applications decreased 1.2 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis from one week earlier, with purchase loans rising 0.2 percent (but down 29 percent year-on-year) and refinance activity falling 4 percent (and down 83 percent year-on-year). The adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) share of activity increased to 9.1 percent of total applications. The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages increased to 6.01 percent from 5.94 percent.