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Economic commentary

Economic commentary

February Economic Review: The outlook for 2020 is mostly positive, but will the Coronavirus short-circuit the expansion?

The economy started off the new decade on several positive notes. However, global equity markets ended January lower following a selloff that gave back early-month gains. Volatility spiked as fears of contagion from the COVID-2019 virus spread around the globe. See Nationwide Economics’ take on what's happening and why this month in the economy.  

Economic commentary

Modest consumer spending continues

Retail sales were once again softer than expected, as reduced spending at clothing and gasoline retailers offset higher sales from motor vehicle dealers and building materials/garden supply firms in January. The 0.3 percent increase was the fourth consecutive month with growth at that level or weaker (preceded by an outright decline in spending for September). Core retail sales (excluding autos, building materials, and gasoline) were flat in January and have decreased in aggregate over the past five months. 

Economic commentary

Housing ends 2019 on a hot streak

Existing home sales jumped by 3.6 percent in December to an annualized pace of 5.54 million units, the fastest monthly reading in nearly two years. This extended a pickup in sales during the fourth quarter in response to continued positive drivers of housing demand. As sales were weaker at the end of 2018 in reaction to higher mortgage rates then, existing sales in December 2019 were 10.8 percent above levels from a year earlier 

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