After being accused of throwing several temper tantrums because he cannot get his own way regarding the border wall, yesterday Trump spoke about declaring a national emergency, saying “I’ll probably do it, maybe definitely.” Such action – if successful – would permit him to use the military to construct a border wall without congressional approval, but it isn’t clear whether he is actually permitted to declare an emergency under the circumstances.
Initial jobless claims came in better than expected in the week ending 5 January. The number of Americans filing for unemployment benefits dropped by 17,000 to 216,000 from the previous week’s revised level of 233,000 and some way below expectations of 225,000. Fed Chair Jerome Powell delivered a speech yesterday afternoon, where he reiterated that the central bank is flexible and can change its policy instantly if the economic outlook changes. He added that the previous forecast of two rate hikes in 2019 was based on a ‘very strong outlook for 2019’.
The key release from the US today is December’s inflation rate. It is expected to dip to 1.9% this time around from 2.2% the previous period. The core inflation rate – that is, inflation which removes particularly volatile components, such as the cost of food and energy – is expected to hold steady at 2.2%.
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