Fencepost - May/June 2017 - 55

April 2017

As was widely expected, the Federal Reserve raised the
short-term interest rate target by 0.25 percent at its
March 15 meeting. However, that is likely the last rate
hike until at least June.
As of mid-April, the Federal Funds futures market implied a
probability of over 95 percent that the Fed would not raise short
rates again at its meeting on May 3. Further, the futures market
assigns a probability of over 48 percent that short-term rates
will rise again by the June 14 meeting. However, the market now
believes the June rate hike will be the last for 2017.
On longer in the yield curve, the U.S. Treasury's bellwether
10-year bond continues to move lower, giving back some of
the yield increase from late 2016. After peaking at 2.6 percent
in mid-March, the yield on "the 10-year" dropped below
2.25 percent. Mortgage rates moved down with the 10-year
bond and are flirting with the 4 percent threshold again.
Recent comments from President Trump indicated the White
House is concerned that the strength of the U.S. dollar is
weighing on U.S. exports. Indeed, the dollar has risen 24 percent
against major trading partners in the last three years. The higher
value of the dollar makes imported products, including business
inputs, less expensive. However, it makes U.S. exports more
expensive on foreign markets. With the Federal Reserve more
likely to raise interest rates later this year, it seems unlikely that
the dollar would significantly depreciate in coming months.
While there has been some concerns about overbuilding in the
multifamily market, builder confidence in the market for newly
built single-family homes remained relatively solid in April. The
National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing
Market Index (HMI) fell by three points to 68 in April. However,
that reading followed an unusually high March reading. The
April 2017 reading is a full 10 points higher than in April 2016.
Robert Dietz, chief economist for the National Association of
Home Builders, said that "the fact that the HMI measure of
current sales conditions has been over 70 for five consecutive
months shows that there is continued demand for new
construction. However, builders are facing several challenges,
such as hefty regulatory costs and ongoing increases in building
material prices."

The three-month moving averages for the regional HMI scores
showed mixed performance. In the West and Midwest regions,
the HMI rose by one point to 77 and 68, respectively. The South
held steady at 68, and the Northeast fell two points to 46.
Overall new construction starts rose 2 percent in February,
according to Dodge Data & Analytics. The increase came on the
heels of a 15 percent surge in activity in January. These increases
have helped offset softness at the end of 2016.
Robert A. Murray, chief economist for Dodge Data & Analytics,
said that "the first two months of 2017 provide evidence that
construction starts are still trending upward, even with the loss
of momentum that occurred towards the end of 2016."
Murray also noted that "the subdued performance by public
works and electric utilities in recent months had restrained the
level of total construction starts, so their improved activity in
February is a welcome development. Also welcome during the
first two months of 2017 is the strength shown by nonresidential
building and especially its institutional segment."
Despite monthly gains in January and February, construction
activity is down 4 percent for the first two months of this
year versus 2016. However, the year-over-year comparables
are complicated by some large manufacturing and energy
related in early 2016.

www.americanfenceassociation.com | 55 | May/June 2017


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Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Fencepost - May/June 2017

Editor’s Note
Executive Director’s Message
President’s Message
Board of Directors | Board of Governors
Fencelines
Mistaken Identity: A Story of Cedar
Safety First
Minding Your Business
Class Act: AFA Education Foundation Bestows Seven Scholarships
Safety
Health Plan Checkup: Ensuring Your Benefits Program Is the Picture of Health
CLFMI
The Road More Traveled: 811 Car and 811 Bike Recognized as Damage Prevention Icons
New Members
The 811 Across Texas Public Awareness Campaign
Calendar
FenceSense
Index to Advertisers
Fencepost - May/June 2017 - Intro
Fencepost - May/June 2017 - cover1
Fencepost - May/June 2017 - cover2
Fencepost - May/June 2017 - 3
Fencepost - May/June 2017 - 4
Fencepost - May/June 2017 - 5
Fencepost - May/June 2017 - 6
Fencepost - May/June 2017 - 7
Fencepost - May/June 2017 - 8
Fencepost - May/June 2017 - 9
Fencepost - May/June 2017 - 10
Fencepost - May/June 2017 - 11
Fencepost - May/June 2017 - 12
Fencepost - May/June 2017 - Editor’s Note
Fencepost - May/June 2017 - 14
Fencepost - May/June 2017 - Executive Director’s Message
Fencepost - May/June 2017 - 16
Fencepost - May/June 2017 - President’s Message
Fencepost - May/June 2017 - 18
Fencepost - May/June 2017 - Board of Directors | Board of Governors
Fencepost - May/June 2017 - Fencelines
Fencepost - May/June 2017 - 21
Fencepost - May/June 2017 - Mistaken Identity: A Story of Cedar
Fencepost - May/June 2017 - 23
Fencepost - May/June 2017 - 24
Fencepost - May/June 2017 - 25
Fencepost - May/June 2017 - 26
Fencepost - May/June 2017 - Safety First
Fencepost - May/June 2017 - 28
Fencepost - May/June 2017 - 29
Fencepost - May/June 2017 - 30
Fencepost - May/June 2017 - Minding Your Business
Fencepost - May/June 2017 - 32
Fencepost - May/June 2017 - 33
Fencepost - May/June 2017 - Class Act: AFA Education Foundation Bestows Seven Scholarships
Fencepost - May/June 2017 - 35
Fencepost - May/June 2017 - 36
Fencepost - May/June 2017 - Safety
Fencepost - May/June 2017 - Health Plan Checkup: Ensuring Your Benefits Program Is the Picture of Health
Fencepost - May/June 2017 - 39
Fencepost - May/June 2017 - 40
Fencepost - May/June 2017 - 41
Fencepost - May/June 2017 - 42
Fencepost - May/June 2017 - CLFMI
Fencepost - May/June 2017 - 44
Fencepost - May/June 2017 - The Road More Traveled: 811 Car and 811 Bike Recognized as Damage Prevention Icons
Fencepost - May/June 2017 - 46
Fencepost - May/June 2017 - New Members
Fencepost - May/June 2017 - 48
Fencepost - May/June 2017 - The 811 Across Texas Public Awareness Campaign
Fencepost - May/June 2017 - 50
Fencepost - May/June 2017 - Calendar
Fencepost - May/June 2017 - 52
Fencepost - May/June 2017 - FenceSense
Fencepost - May/June 2017 - 54
Fencepost - May/June 2017 - 55
Fencepost - May/June 2017 - 56
Fencepost - May/June 2017 - 57
Fencepost - May/June 2017 - 58
Fencepost - May/June 2017 - 59
Fencepost - May/June 2017 - 60
Fencepost - May/June 2017 - 61
Fencepost - May/June 2017 - Index to Advertisers
Fencepost - May/June 2017 - cover3
Fencepost - May/June 2017 - cover4
Fencepost - May/June 2017 - outsert1
Fencepost - May/June 2017 - outsert2
Fencepost - May/June 2017 - outsert3
Fencepost - May/June 2017 - outsert4
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