United States: Housing Sector Boosts Economic Growth Despite Monetary Policy Shift

Recent economic data reveals that the U.S. economy continues to grow steadily, supported by a robust housing sector. Existing home sales and housing starts exceeded expectations in February, indicating robust growth. Additionally, initial jobless claims have remained low throughout March.

Next week’s focus: New Home Sales (Monday), Durable Goods Orders (Tuesday), Personal Income & Spending (Friday)

International: Bank of Japan Ends Negative Interest Rate Policy

In a widely anticipated move, the Bank of Japan (BoJ) officially abandoned its long-standing negative interest rate policy this week, marking its first interest rate hike since 2007. The decision is believed to be influenced by the outcome of Japan’s spring wage negotiations.

Next week’s highlights: Riksbank Policy Interest Rate (Wednesday), Canada Monthly GDP (Thursday), Tokyo CPI (Friday)

Interest Rate Watch: FOMC Maintains Status Quo

Following its March 20 meeting, the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) decided to keep the federal funds rate unchanged and maintain the pace of balance sheet reduction. While individual forecasts from FOMC members suggest a slightly hawkish stance on rates, growth, and inflation for the year, the overall policy remains unchanged.

Credit Market Insights: Adjusting to Higher Interest Rates

According to the New York Fed’s Credit Access Survey, consumers and lenders are adapting to the prolonged period of higher interest rates. While the survey suggests a slight increase in credit application rates and a decline in rejection rates, the data also indicate a decrease in loan demand amidst expectations of continued higher rates.

Topic of the Week: Impact of High-Tech Manufacturing on Construction

The high-tech manufacturing sector in the U.S. has seen significant growth in nonresidential construction. A recent report explores how this high-tech manufacturing construction boom could shape the U.S. economy’s future.

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