US Stocks just came off their fourth negative week in five with a 1.6% loss last week. A hotter-than-expected inflation reading stoked wild price swings in the markets as investors readjusted their expectations for the Federal Reserve’s coming rate hikes.
The pace of sales at U.S. retailers was unchanged in September from August as rising prices for rent and food chipped away at money available for other things. Retail sales were flat last month, down from 0.4% growth in August. While the report showed the resilience of the American consumer, the figures are not adjusted for inflation unlike many other government reports. In fact, sales at grocery stores rose 0.4%, helped by rising prices in food. Evidence that the Fed’s fight to cool the economy may be taking hold can also be seen, particularly with big-ticket items.
After two years of port congestions and container shortages, disruptions are now easing as Chinese exports slow in light of waning demand from Western economies and softer global economic conditions. Container freight rates, which soared to record prices at the height of the pandemic, have been falling rapidly and container shipments on routes between Asia and the U.S. have also plunged. The latest Drewry composite World Container Index — a key benchmark for container prices — is $3,689 per 40-foot container. That’s 64% lower than the same time last September after falling 32 weeks in a row.