Macro Briefing: 19 January 2024

* Congress approves short-term funding to avert government shutdown
* What are the factors behind China’s slowing economic growth?
* Bitcoin ETFs are second only to gold funds re: investor popularity
* Trump rules out a US central bank digital currency if he’s elected
* Jobless claims fell last week to lowest level since Sep. 2022
* Philly Fed Manufacturing Index continued to slide in January
* US housing starts fell in December, reversing some of November’s surge:

The average 30-year mortgage rate in the US fell to 6.60% last week, the lowest in seven months, according to date from Freddie Mac. “This is an encouraging development for the housing market and, in particular, first-time homebuyers who are sensitive to changes in housing affordability,” advises Sam Khater, Freddie Mac’s chief economist. “However, as purchase demand continues to thaw, it will put more pressure on already depleted inventory for sale.”