Research Brief: Financial Markets – July 2023

Hiatus short-lived as Fed re-commences rate hikes. On July 26, the Federal Open Market Committee announced the first fed funds rate increase in nearly three months, raising the metric by 25 basis points to a lower bound of 5.25 percent. This follows a pause in June during which the target rate remained flat, as the FOMC chose to observe the impact of previous rate hikes in order to calibrate policy moving forward. The Fed called… Read More

Research Brief: Retail Sales – July 2023

Consumers resilient, despite household budget headwinds. Core retail spending, which excludes vehicle and fuel sales, rose in real terms in June, even after factoring in inflation. This monthly increase indicates that above-average wage growth generated from a still-tight labor market is propping up households’ budgets during a period of record debt balances and higher interest rates. These latter factors, however, are making consumers more…

Research Brief: Inflation – July 2023

Inflation continuing to trend down. The headline consumer price index climbed by 3.0 percent year-over-year in June, the smallest increase since March 2021. A 16.7 percent decline in energy costs helped slow the overall inflation rate to a third of its June 2022 peak. However, prices for other categories of consumer goods and services, such as housing and medical care, continue to ascend. Core CPI inflation, which omits more volatile food and energy costs, rose… Read More

Research Brief: Student Debt – July 2023

Supreme Court blocks Biden-Harris student debt forgiveness plan. Early in the health crisis, the CARES Act froze repayment and interest accumulation on federal student loans. In 2022, the Biden Administration introduced a forgiveness plan for qualifying borrowers, worth between…

Research Brief: Employment – July 2023

Employment growth strong, but down from recent periods. Monthly hiring dropped below the 300,000 mark for the fourth time this year with the creation of 209,000 jobs in June. While the softest period for employment growth since December 2020, June’s total is still well above the past 30-year average of 126,000. Staff additions were led by…

Special Report: Capital Markets – June 2023

CPACE Financing Alternative Gaining Traction in Higher-Cost Capital Markets Environment CPACE, a state policy-enabled financing alternative, provides developers access to capital for construction and building upgrades. With all-in rates on floating debt now generally ranging from 8 percent to 13 percent or above, CPACE has become a more viable option for borrowers, including in hybrid structures. Such creative financing alternatives can help borrowers navigate current capital market challenges. Key Features Include: Overview of the current… Read More

Research Brief: Retail Sales – June 2023

Consecutive months of broad growth encouraging. Households increased their spending across a broad spectrum of stores in May, supporting a 0.4 percent rise in core retail sales. For the second straight month, eight categories registered sales growth, a testament to consumers’ spending power. The addition of 339,000 new jobs last month, the most since January, played a role in…

Research Brief: Inflation – June 2023

Inflation slows to 27-month low. The headline consumer price index rose by 4.0 percent year-over-year in May, less than half the 9.1 percent pace recorded last June. While consumer prices are still rising more rapidly than the Federal Reserve prefers, the cool down from peak levels encouraged officials to hold the federal funds rate flat in June. The hiatus allows more…

Research Brief: Financial Markets – June 2023

Federal Reserve pauses in June to assess data. The Federal Open Market Committee held their policy rate flat at a lower bound of 5 percent at the June meeting. This is the first time the FOMC has not raised the federal funds rate at a meeting since before March 2022. The pause does not, however, imply an end to the current tightening cycle. The Federal Reserve is continuing to reduce its…

Research Brief: Debt Ceiling Agreement – June 2023

Bipartisan agreement avoids potential catastrophe. President Biden and House Speaker McCarthy reached a tentative agreement on May 27 to suspend the debt limit until January 2025. This bill, known as the Fiscal Responsibility Act of 2023, was approved by the House of Representatives on May 31, and the Senate on June 1, before going to the president for his signature. Treasury Secretary Yellen provided an estimated date of June 5, at which point reserve funds would… Read More