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Tidbits, Planting Progress, ENSO, Export Inspections 4/16/24


Yesterday’s US retail sales for March were up 0.7%, 0.4% stronger than the market expected. Retail sales for February were revised higher to show sales rebounding 0.9%, which was the largest gain in just over a year, instead of the previously reported 0.6%. That pretty much killed any chance of any interest rate cuts in 2024, much less three of them as the market had been expecting a few months ago.


Today's economic numbers from China included GDP through the first quarter. The market expected an annual growth rate of 4.6%, down from 5.2% at the end of 2023. However, actual GDP was growing at an annual pace of 5.3% in the first quarter of 2024 official data showed this morning, comfortably beating analysts' expectations. It was a welcome sign for policymakers (and American farmers) as they try to shore up demand and confidence in the face of a protracted property crisis.


Crude oil prices firmed last evening as the market became concerned what would happen if Israel launched a counter attack on Iran and, the follow-up concern, what would Iran do if Israel did launch a counter attack deep into Iran? 

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