Optimistic Report for Housing from FOMC

first_img FOMC Government Interest rates 2017-02-22 Sandra Lane Optimistic Report for Housing from FOMC February 22, 2017 605 Views There was good news for the housing industry coming from a Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC), which released its meeting minutes on Wednesday.Taking place on January 31 and February 1 in Washington, D.C., members of the FOMC said their economic forecasts and judgments about monetary policy had not changed much since the December meeting. Against this backdrop, they thought it appropriate to maintain the target range for the federal funds rate at ½ to ¾ percent at this meeting. Members felt that recent indicators of activity in the housing sector were generally positive. Starts and permits for single-family housing and sales of existing homes rose moderately in the fourth quarter, and real residential investment bounced back after two quarterly declines. A couple of participants commented that supply constraints might be holding back new homebuilding.Regarding the housing sector, consumer spending posted a moderate increase in the fourth quarter, and participants generally anticipated that further gains in consumer spending would contribute importantly to economic growth in 2017. They expected that, although interest rates had moved higher, household spending would continue to be supported by rising employment and income as well as high levels of household wealth. The consensus was that the labor market had continued to strengthen and that economic activity had continued to expand at a moderate pace. Job gains had remained solid, and the unemployment rate had stayed near its recent low. Household spending had continued to rise moderately, while business fixed investment had remained softHowever, there were some concerns expressed by participants at the meeting. They emphasized their considerable uncertainty about the prospects for changes in fiscal and other government policies as well as about the timing and magnitude of the net effects of such changes on economic activity. In discussing the risks to the economic outlook, participants continued to view the possibility of more expansionary fiscal policy as having increased the upside risks to their economic forecasts, although some noted that several potential changes in government policies could pose downside risks. In addition, a few participants noted that prospects for residential investment would also depend on whether household formation picked up and how housing market activity responded to the recent rise in mortgage interest rates.Regarding the outlook for inflation, some participants continued to be concerned that faster-than-expected economic growth or a substantial undershooting of the longer-run normal unemployment rate posed risks to inflation.Participants generally agreed that the Committee should continue to closely monitor inflation indicators and global economic and financial developments. It was discussed whether current assessments of economic conditions and the medium-term outlook warranted altering earlier views of the appropriate path for the target range for the federal funds rateThe recent improvement in consumer sentiment was also viewed as a potentially positive factor in the outlook for spending, although several participants cautioned that an elevated level of sentiment, even if it was sustained, was likely to make only a small contribution to household spending beyond those from income, wealth, and credit conditions. Finally, the view that gradual increases in the federal funds rate were likely to be appropriate also reflected the assessment that the neutral real rate, defined as the real interest rate that is neither expansionary nor contractionary when the economy is operating at or near its potential, was currently quite low and was likely to rise only slowly over time. center_img in Government, Headlines, News Sharelast_img read more

Go back to the enewsletter Cruise Lines Internatio

first_imgGo back to the enewsletterCruise Lines International Association (CLIA) Australasia has announced enhancements for the 2018 Cruise Industry Awards with a refreshed award slate and an updated nominations and judging process.From 2019, ‘the CLIAs’ – the official cruise industry’s annual ‘night of nights’ – will take on a new look and feel, with the addition of new and updated awards, a new and more open online nomination and submission process, and a revamped judging panel including, for the first time, a separate local judging panel for New Zealand awards.In announcing the launch of the 2018 Awards, CLIA Australasia Managing Director Joel Katz said the ‘CLIAs’ were evolving in line with the ever-changing industry.“The Cruise Industry Awards has always been about recognising excellence in our industry and just as we have been doing for the past 17 years, the event will continue to be a celebration of CLIA travel agent members and cruise media. But things change over time and it’s important that we continue to recognise the great achievements of our partners. These changes reflect how our industry has grown and evolved since our first awards night back in 2002,” Katz said.“We’re updating the awards, nomination criteria and judging in the hope of inspiring individual member agents and both large and small agencies to engage with and champion the cruise industry and focus on innovation and training, as well as deliver exceptional cruise sales.”Changes include:Updated nomination criteria that recognise marketing activity, investment in product training and innovation and engagement with CLIA, as well as cruise sales.A new award category, ‘Cruise Champion’, will recognise an individual agent who goes above and beyond to champion the cruise industryThe Cruise Agency of the Year award will separately recognise small agencies with one branch and larger agencies with several locations or brands.The Rising Star Award will be broadened to consider achievement, skill development, drive for excellence and future potential.11 awards will now be open for self-nomination or peer nomination.There will be separate NZ and Australia judging panels.The 18th annual Cruise Industry Awards will be held at The Star, Sydney on Saturday 23 February, 2019. Nominations for the 2018 Awards close on Friday 14 December.For more information on the awards, to nominate, and to purchase tickets, see www.cruising.org.auGo back to the enewsletterlast_img read more