Last updateWed, 11 Dec 2019 9pm

White House, Democrats Reach Deal on USMCA

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced Tuesday that a deal is in place for passage of the U.S.–Mexico–Canada Agreement (USMCA), a trade pact set to replace NAFTA. The House is expected to approve the USMCA officially next week. In the Senate, it is likely to come up after completing an impeachment trial in January, according to Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.

The National Association of Manufacturers had this, in part, to say in response, “Manufacturers support the USMCA, and we are encouraged that the administration and House Democrats have forged a path forward, with the support of Canada and Mexico as well. To be sure, as with any agreement of this nature, not every objective that we sought was met. For instance, we are extremely disappointed that the agreement missed an opportunity to set the gold standard for the protection of American-made lifesaving innovations and inventions. Protection of intellectual property is a key principle and critical for the long-term vitality of the manufacturing industry and the men and women who work in our sector.”

NABE: Expects Economic Slowdown in 2020

The latest survey from the National Association for Business Economics (NABE) predicts economic growth—as measured by inflation-adjusted GDP—to continue. The median forecast for GDP growth in 2019 is 2.3%. Respondents anticipate GDP growth will register 1.8% in 2020, unchanged from the October survey. Real GDP increased 2.9% in 2018.

Trade policy continues to be the most widely cited dominant downside risk. Half of respondents in the December survey cites trade policy as the greatest downside risk to the U.S. economy through 2020, considering both probability of occurrence and potential impact.

Consumer Sentiment at Highest Level Since May

The University of Michigan Consumer Sentiment Index has averaged 97.0 in the past three years, the highest sustained level since the all-time record in the Clinton administration. Nearly all of the early December gain was among upper income households, who also reported near record gains in household wealth, largely due to increased stock prices. Indeed, among households with incomes in the top third of the distribution, their overall assessment of their current finances was the third highest in the past twenty years. These gains were aided by declining inflation expectations, with long term inflation expectations returning to an all-time low.

U.S. Added 266,000 Jobs in November

Total nonfarm payroll employment rose by 266,000 in November and the unemployment rate is down 0.1% to 3.5%, the U.S. Department of Labor reported today. Notable job gains occurred in health care and in professional and technical services.

Manufacturing employment rose by 54,000 in November, reflecting the return of workers from a strike, following a decline of 43,000 in the prior month.

Global Chemicals Output Declined in October

Data collected and tabulated by the American Chemistry Council (ACC) show that global chemicals production fell 0.2% in October, a slower pace of decline than the 0.5% drop in September. During October, chemical production increased in North America, Latin America, the former Soviet Union and Africa and the Middle East and fell in Europe and Asia Pacific. Headline global production was up 1.1% year-over-year (Y/Y) on a three-month moving average basis and stood at 117.3% of its average 2012 levels.

During October, global capacity rose by 0.2% and was up 3.5% Y/Y. As a result, capacity utilization in the global chemical industry fell 0.3 points, to 81.6%. This is down from 83.5% last October and below the long-term (1987-2017) average of 86.4%.


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