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Monday, August 02, 2010

Preview: Auto Sales, Pending Home Sales, Aug 10th FOMC Meeting

by Calculated Risk on 8/02/2010 05:04:00 PM

1) July Auto Sales. Light vehicle sales will be reported tomorrow by the automakers. In the weekly schedule, I noted that "expectations are for about a 11.6 million SAAR for light vehicles in July – up from the 11.1 million sales rate in June." There is a pretty wide range in forecasts:

From Bloomberg: Auto Sales May Rise to Highest of Year on U.S. Closeout Deals

Industrywide deliveries ... may reach an annualized rate of 11.9 million vehicles in July, the average of eight analysts’ estimates compiled by Bloomberg. That would be 5.3 percent higher than last year’s 11.3 million pace and the best month since August 2009 ...
And from Reuters: Auto Sales in US Expected to Rise Slightly in July
Analysts surveyed by Reuters expected an average annualized sales rate of 11.4 million vehicles in July, up slightly from 11.1 million in June and 11.2 million a year earlier. Forecasts for July range from 11.1 million to 12.1 million vehicles.
2) Pending Home Sales: The consensus is for a slight decline in the pending homes sales index for June, after the 30% drop decline in May. Lawler expects about a 3% decline (based on limited data).

3) FOMC meeting on August 10th: There has been some speculation that the FOMC would ease monetary policy next week. As an example from CNBC: Fed Will Ease Monetary Policy on Aug. 10: Economist
Japan's Nomura has become the first investment bank to predict the Federal Reserve will begin to ease monetary policy following the recent slowdown in growth in the world's biggest economy.

The deterioration in expectations for growth and inflation argues for an easing of monetary policy, Paul Sheard, the global chief economist at Nomura, wrote in his latest report.
Given Chairman Bernanke's comments this morning, this seems very unlikely. Bernanke's speech was fairly positive, and I think the FOMC statement might note that growth has slowed, but the "extended period" wording will probably remain the same - and there will probably be no mention of further easing. The following was the key sentence in Bernanke's speech:
"In particular, in the household sector, growth in real consumer spending seems likely to pick up in coming quarters from its recent modest pace, supported by gains in income and improving credit conditions."
Unless there is a huge downside surprise this week, I think the FOMC statement will basically remain the same.