Macro Briefing: 17 February 2023

* Pentagon’s top China official is visiting Taiwan
* US mortgage rates rise for second week–average 30-year fixed at 6.32%
* Consumer sector in US showing new signs of resilience
* Will optimism in financial markets strengthen Fed’s hawkish monetary bias?
* US wholesale prices re-accelerate in January–new warning sign for inflation
* Philly Fed Manufacturing Index falls sharply in February
* US housing starts fall in January–lowest level since pandemic was raging in 2020:

Investor purchases of homes fell sharply in the fourth quarter, according to data from Redfin. “Investor purchases of U.S. homes fell a record 45.8% year over year in the fourth quarter as the high cost of borrowing money and the prospect of substantial home-price declines made real estate investing less attractive. The second biggest decline occurred in 2008, when investor purchases slumped 45.1% during the subprime mortgage crisis.”