The Day at a Glance | March 29 2023

*Consumer confidence in the US surprised to the upside. 

*The speaker of the House of Representatives urged the White House on Tuesday to initiate more “robust” negotiations on the country`s debt ceiling. 

*According to the US Mortgage Bankers Association, mortgage applications slightly moderated their growth rate last week to 2.9%, compared to the previous 3.0%. 

*The Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond`s manufacturing index recorded a -5 point figure in March, marking a relative improvement from the previous -16, and exceeding the expected -10. However, the business conditions index dropped to -17 from February`s -6 points. 

*The activity index in the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas` services sector retreated to -18 points in March from the -9.3 reported the previous month. 

Economic environment

After two consecutive decreasing figures, the consumer confidence index rebounded in March and logged a 104.2 point figure, exceeding the expected 101 points. This performance was even more surprising considering recent events in the US banking sector. However, the still robust labor market, which has led to upward wage revisions, prevailed over the banking turmoil. The sub-index on expectations for the next six months increased to 73.0 points from the previous 69.7, indicating a slightly less pessimistic outlook on short-term activity conditions. Meanwhile, the sub-index for the present situation fell to 151.1 from the previous 152.8 points. 

Kevin McCarthy, speaker of the House of Representatives, sent a letter to the White House on Tuesday urging for more “robust” negotiations on the debt ceiling. Additionally, he suggested some areas where savings could be made. However, the White House refused to continue negotiations until Republicans send a counterproposal to the budget request that was presented by the White House earlier this month.

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