Jul 19, 2019

Manufacturing is rebounding from its June swoon

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Data: Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia; Chart: Axios Visuals

The Fed's regional manufacturing indexes are bouncing back in July after an awful June swoon, none more so than the Philadelphia region, which rose to 21.8 from a 0.3 reading in June.

Why it matters: It was the highest result in a year for the survey.

Details: Many of June's regional Fed surveys were conducted during the week President Trump threatened to impose tariffs on imports from Mexico in addition to tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods.

  • "A July rebound, therefore, was always likely but this is a gratifyingly big increase," Ian Shepherdson, chief economist at Pantheon Macroeconomics, wrote in a note to clients.
  • The strong rebound in the Philly Fed number, following a modest gain from the New York regional Fed, doesn't promise a pickup in overall U.S. manufacturing, "but it does make it much more likely," Shepherdson added.

Go deeper: Manufacturing numbers keep getting worse

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Trump ups the ante on his Fed feud

Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios

Just as the Fed seems poised to announce the first interest rate cut since the financial crisis, President Trump took his feud with the central bank one step further, saying it "has made all the wrong moves."

Why it matters: In previous administrations, it would have been unthinkable for the president to publicly lobby for a rate cut, which Trump says will goose the economy. And even though Trump may have unintentionally gotten everything he's wanted from the Fed so far, he is pushing for even more. On Monday, he tweeted: "A small rate cut is not enough, but we will win anyway!"

Go deeperArrowJul 29, 2019

Fed wants to "vaccinate the economy" with rate cuts

If there was uncertainty about whether the Fed planned to lower interest rates at its policy meeting this month, New York Fed President John Williams, St. Louis Fed President James Bullard and Fed Vice Chair Richard Clarida all but ended it Thursday afternoon.

The big picture: The Fed has been setting up this rate cut since April. Since then policymakers have been shifting the focus from being "data dependent" to worrying about the unknown impacts of the U.S.-China trade war and slowing global growth, which has been happening since the year began, but wasn't highlighted until recently.

Go deeperArrowJul 19, 2019

Jay Powell's constraints

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Jay Powell did his best impression this week of a Fed chair making his own data-driven decisions about where he should set short-term interest rates. The reality, however, is that the markets and the president are giving him very little choice.

Driving the news: Powell cut interest rates on Wednesday — the first time the Fed has done so in over a decade. In doing so, he effectively fulfilled a prophecy that the fixed-income markets (and even the stock market) had been making for all of 2019. They saw the rate cut coming long before the Fed was willing to admit it, and they were right all along.

Go deeperArrowAug 4, 2019