Fast Track Legislation of Export-Import Bank to Continue
May 21, 2015
Debate of Fast Track legislation will continue in the Senate after a procedural vote of 62-38 yesterday, as Democratic members of the chamber are working with their Republican colleagues on issues regarding the reauthorization of the Import-Export Bank and currency manipulation.
• Debate of Fast Track legislation will continue in the Senate after a procedural vote of 62-38 yesterday, as Democratic members of the chamber are working with their Republican colleagues on issues regarding the reauthorization of the Import-Export Bank and currency manipulation. Sens. Maria Cantwell (D-WA), Heidi Heitcamp (D-ND), and Patty Murray (D-WA) have led negotiations with Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) to renew the trade bank that provides financing and credit guarantees to exporters. Meanwhile, other Democratic lawmakers, including Ron Wyden (D-OR) and Sherrod Brown (D-OH), are pushing amendments that would boost trade enforcement and expedite customs. Approval of the Fast Track bill is still contingent upon compromise between legislators in both chambers of Congress and the support of President Obama, who has opposed some of the amendments introduced by his Democratic peers as being detrimental to his 12-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership. [WSJ]
Economic Indicators & News
• Existing home sales slowed 3.3% in April to an annual pace of 5.04 million units, as low supply relative to demand led to higher prices and bidding wars. The median existing-home price rose to $219,400, which is 8.9% above April 2014—the 38th consecutive month of year-over-year price gains. Properties sold faster than any time since July 2013 with an average of 39 days on the market and 46% of homes sold were on the market for less than a month. The number of first-time buyers remained at 30% for the second consecutive month. Sales increased in the Midwest but declined in the Northeast, South, and West. [Realtor]
• The Markit manufacturing purchasing manager’s index (PMI) eased to a 16-month low in May to a reading of 53.8. Slower new order growth contributed to the weakest improvement to overall business conditions since 2014. Faster job creation helped maintain the index’s position at above a reading of 50, however, which is the key level that indicates manufacturing strength or weakness. There was a slower rise in inventories in May than in the previous 11 months, which suggests lower interest among manufacturers for maintaining safety stock. Input costs rose for the first time in 2015. [Markit]
• In its monthly manufacturing business outlook survey for May, the Philadelphia Federal Reserve’s general business conditions index fell to 6.7 from 7.5 in April, as the current employment component fell 5 points to 6.7 while the demand for goods component rose 3 points. The current shipments component left negative territory with an increase of 3 points to 1. The survey indicates modest manufacturing expansion in May with a six-month forecast for continued increases in output. [Philly Fed]