Producer Price Index jumped 0.6 in March due to higher gas prices, but core index unchanged
The Producer Price Index for final demand rose 0.6 percent in March, the sharpest rise since last October due to rising gas prices. The final demand index increased 2.2 percent for the 12 months ended in March, the largest 12-month rise since a 2.5-percent advance in December 2018. However, the ‘core’ PPI, which strips out food and energy costs, was unchanged in March and rose 2.0 percent year-on-year.
March Small Business Optimism Index rebounds due to lower uncertainty
The NFIB Small Business Optimism Index increased 0.1 points to 101.8 in March, a historically strong level after being briefly shaken by January’s government shutdown. Overall, the Index anticipates solid growth, keeping the economy at “full employment” with no signs of a recession in the near term. The Uncertainty Index dropped six points to 79, returning to a more normal level for recent years.
Overall mortgage applications dip 5.6 percent, but purchase loans up 13 percent year-on-year
The Market Composite Index decreased 5.6 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis from one week earlier, with purchase loans rising 1.0 percent (and up 13 percent year-on-year) but refinance activity falling 11 percent. The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages increased to 4.40 percent from 4.36 percent.