The Weekly Bottom Line: All About Inflation and Geopolitics

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U.S. Highlights

  • Inflation concerns and rising geopolitical tensions took a toll on equity markets this week. Regarding inflation and monetary policy, minutes from the January FOMC meeting indicate that most participants believe that the Fed should hike rates at a faster clip than it did during the post-2015 period.
  • Retail sales beat market expectations in January, rising 3.8%. Driving the gain were strong receipts at auto & parts dealers and non-store retailers.
  • Housing starts fell 4.1% in January, but on a trend basis remain at the highest level since 2006. Existing home sales were upbeat, rising 6.7% last month. The strong showing likely reflects some pull-forward in activity.

Canadian Highlights

  • Data out this week reinforced the call for the Bank of Canada to move on raising interest rates. Average home prices posted their fastest monthly gain outside of the early-pandemic period since 1989 in January.
  • Not to be outdone, headline CPI inflation…

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