Canadian Trade Deficit Doubles
- According to Statistics Canada, the nation’s trade deficit rose to C$2.06 billion in November from C$851 million in October due to a decline in crude oil prices. Exports fell 2.9 percent to C$48.33 billion in November, for a fourth consecutive monthly decline, led by a 17.7 percent drop in crude-oil exports. Exports to the United States dropped 3.9 percent. Imports declined just 0.5 percent.
- In the United States, the National Federation of Independent Business’s Small Business Optimism Index fell 0.4 points to 104.4 in December but remains near all-time highs. Four of the index’s components increased and six decreased, including expected real sales growth and expected business conditions.
- According to the U.S. Labor Department, 216,000 individuals filed for federal unemployment benefits during the week that ended Jan. 5, down 17,000 from the previous week’s level. The four-week moving average of first-time claims rose, however, while the number of individuals who continued to receive benefits fell to 1.722 million for the week that ended Dec. 29, a decrease of 28,000 from the previous week’s level. The four-week moving average of continuing claims rose.
- In other economic news: the U.S. consumer price index fell 0.1 percent between November 2018 and December 2019, but increased 1.9 percent between December 2017 and December 2018; there were 6.9 million jobs open in the United States in November 2018; and the Institute for Supply Management’s non-manufacturing Index dropped 3.1 percentage points to 57.6 in December due to declines in new orders and employment.