Federal Reserve announces another $2.3 trillion in monetary stimulus
The Fed, in conjunction with the U.S. Treasury, announced another large stimulus package Thursday that will collectively provide a $2.3 trillion in credit to firms, households and municipalities. In particular, the Fed launched a long-awaited Main Street Business Lending Program and a Municipal Liquidity Facility.
Initial unemployment claims rise another 6.6 million in weekly report
In the week ending April 4, initial unemployment claims were 6,606,000, a decrease of 261,000 from the previous week’s revised level, but still totaling 16.8 million over the last three weeks. The previous week’s level was revised up by 219,000 from 6,648,000 to 6,867,000. The 4-week moving average was 4,265,500, an increase of 1,598,750 from the previous week’s revised average.
Consumer sentiment drops another 18.1 points in early April
The consumer sentiment index plunged 18.1 points in early April, the largest monthly decline ever recorded. When combined with last month’s decline, the two-month drop of 30.0 points was 50 percent larger than the prior record. Consumers need to be prepared for a longer and deeper recession rather than the now discredited message that pent-up demand will spark a quick, robust, and sustained economic recovery. Sharp additional declines may occur when consumers adjust their views to a slower expected pace of the economic recovery.
Producer Price Index slips 0.2 percent in March but up 0.7 percent year-on-year
The Producer Price Index for final demand fell 0.2 percent in March but was up 0.7 percent year-on-year. The monthly decrease in the final demand index can be traced to a 1.0-percent drop in prices for goods. The index for services moved up 0.2 percent. Prices for final demand less foods, energy, and trade services declined 0.2 percent in March, the largest decrease since falling 0.2 percent in October 2015, but was up 1.0 percent year-on-year.