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Firms continue to hoard cash overseas

The cash held overseas by US firms has continued to grow at a rapid pace, rising to almost $2.5tn in 2015. The substantial tax bill most firms would face if they attempted to bring this cash home, however, means that it is still very unlikely to ever be repatriated under the current system.

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US Economics Weekly

Fed refuses to blink, as growth fears mount

Chair Jerome Powell signalled this week that the Fed will press ahead with its planned series of aggressive interest rate hikes, even as evidence mounts that economic growth will be weak in the second half of the year.

24 June 2022

US Chart Book

Recession fears overdone

The surge in interest rates, plunge in the stock market and weakness of consumer confidence have fuelled fears of an impending recession, but there is still little sign of that in the incoming economic data. The coincident indicators used by the NBER to identify economic turning points show continued growth. The strength of payroll employment growth, which is averaging close to 400,000 per month, is particularly hard to square with claims that a recession is imminent. Admittedly, with inflation rampant, that is likely to keep the Fed raising interest rates aggressively, including another 75bp hike in July. But with underlying demand still strong, a slowdown in growth is still the more likely outcome.

23 June 2022

US Economics Weekly

Economy still bending rather than breaking

Evidence that economic growth has rebounded in the second quarter, alongside the likelihood of a further big rise in consumer prices in June, suggest that the Fed will press ahead with another super-sized 75bp rate hike at the next FOMC meeting in late July.
Markets Drop-In (22nd June, 10:00 ET/15:00 BST): Join our Markets team for this special briefing on the outlook for equities, bonds and FX and a discussion about revisions to our forecasts. Register now

17 June 2022

More from Capital Economics Economist

US Economics Weekly

Stronger growth not generating major imbalances

After the Fed’s decision to raise interest rates by another 25bp, Fed Chair Jerome Powell claimed in the post-meeting press conference that “the economy is doing very well” – we couldn’t agree more. That view was bolstered by May’s retail sales figures, which suggested that both consumption and GDP growth will rebound strongly in the second quarter, to above 4% annualised. The Fed’s financial account data, released last Friday, illustrate that the economic expansion is not being accompanied by a sharp rise in private sector debt. Rising household wealth is prompting households to save less of their incomes and firms have plenty of resources to fund investment, not least thanks to the 2017 tax reform. The main vulnerability is a renewed surge in Federal debt, but even that wasn’t as bad as it looked, because it was boosted by the suspension of the debt ceiling and partly matched by a rise in assets held in the Treasury account at the Fed.

15 June 2018

Commodities Weekly Wrap

Fears of protectionism weigh on prices

The Fed’s decision to hike its target rate by 25bp and the announcement that the US was going to press ahead with a 25% tariff on imports of Chinese goods prompted a rally in the dollar, which in turn weighed on commodity prices. China has already said it will retaliate, notably with a 25% tariff on soybeans, which was a key factor in the 4% slump in their price this week. Softer Chinese activity data for May, released on Thursday, also worried investors, particularly in the industrial metals markets.

15 June 2018

Canada Economics Weekly

Household debt will remain a risk for years to come

The news earlier this week that household debt had edged down to 168.0% of disposable incomes in the first quarter, from 169.7% in the final quarter of last year, was greeted by some as confirmation that the Bank of Canada had somehow engineered a soft landing in the housing market. It hasn’t. Debt usually surges in the fourth quarter ahead of the Holiday season and falls back in the first quarter, as people pay down their credit cards. Moreover, by focusing on debt exclusively, those commentators also conveniently failed to note that overall household net worth declined to a two-year low of 857% of disposable income.

15 June 2018
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