“U.S. Second-Quarter Growth Revised to 3% in Momentum Boost.”
U.S. second-quarter growth was revised upward to the fastest pace in two years on stronger household spending and a bigger gain in business investment, putting the economy on a stronger track, Commerce Department data showed Wednesday.
The revisions indicate greater momentum going into the second half of 2017, as well as showing that growth in GDP — the value of all goods and services produced — may be broadening beyond household spending.
The upward revision to consumption reflects spending on wireless-phone services, used cars and electricity and natural gas, according to the report. American consumers remain in the driver’s seat in the current expansion, backed by a strong job market, contained inflation and low borrowing costs.
The first look at corporate profits for the quarter also bodes well for business investment and for hiring, which has been robust so far this year. A separate report on Wednesday from the ADP Research Institute showed companies added more workers than forecast in August, a positive sign ahead of the Labor Department’s monthly payrolls data due Friday.
The revisions bring the pace of first-half growth to 2.1 percent, about equal to the average rate since the last recession ended in 2009. Economists had anticipated a second-quarter rebound following 1.2 percent GDP growth in the first three months of the year.
New York Times
“Stalled Over Gulf, Harvey Deepens Texans’ Soggy Misery”
Houston — Five days after the pummeling began — a time when big storms have usually blown through, the sun has come out, and evacuees have returned home — Tropical Storm Harvey refused to go away, battering southeast Texas even more on Tuesday, spreading the destruction into Louisiana and shattering records for rainfall and flooding.
Officials cautioned that the full-fledged rescue-and-escape phase of the crisis, usually finished by now, would continue, and that they still had no way to gauge the scale of the catastrophe — how many dead, how many survivors taking shelter inland or still hunkered down in flooded communities, and how many homes destroyed.
The Red Cross said that in Houston alone, 17,000 people began their day Tuesday in shelters, and the numbers were rising there and in inland cities that had taken evacuees such as Dallas, San Antonio and Austin. Mr. Turner said Houston would create new shelters, Dallas opened its convention center on Tuesday as a shelter for 5,000 people, and Fort Worth said it would open shelters, as well.
The Houston police and fire departments, and the Harris County Sheriff’s Office, reported that they had rescued about 7,000 people since the storm began, many of them from the tops of houses and cars, in addition to those taken by volunteer boaters.
Harvey made landfall on Friday near Corpus Christi as a Category 4 hurricane, the most powerful storm to strike the United States in over a decade, then weakened to a tropical storm and headed back out to sea. Late Tuesday, it was centered about 30 miles east-southeast of Galveston, with sustained winds of 50 miles per hour, and heading north.
New York Times
“U.N. Condemns North Korea’s Latest Missile Tests, but Takes No Action”
The United Nations Security Council condemned on Tuesday North Korea’s recent missile tests, including one that sent a ballistic missile soaring over Japan, as “outrageous actions.” But it gave no indication that it was prepared to take tougher measures against Pyongyang, which called the latest launch a “curtain-raiser.”
The 15 members of the Security Council met for nearly four hours in an emergency session to discuss a response to the North’s latest test, which sent an intermediate-range ballistic missile over the Japanese island of Hokkaido. They unanimously adopted a statement condemning that launch and three others on Saturday, calling them “not just a threat to the region but all U.N. member states.”
But nothing in the statement suggested the council was ready to further toughen the eight sets of sanctions it has imposed on the North, and it was unclear what additional action, if any, might be taken.
Even as North Korea continues to test missiles, South Korean intelligence officials told lawmakers in Seoul this week that the North was technically prepared to conduct its sixth underground nuclear test. Officials have speculated that the North might do so on Sept. 9, a North Korean holiday called the Day of the Foundation of the Republic, or that it might launch another missile on that date. The North conducted its last nuclear test on Sept. 9.
“Crude slips, gasoline jumps as storm shuts a fifth of U.S. fuel output”
Crude oil slid and gasoline futures hit their highest since mid-2015 on Wednesday as flooding and damage from Tropical Storm Harvey shut over a fifth of U.S. refineries, curbing demand for crude while raising the risk of fuel shortages. Refineries with output of 4.1 million barrels per day (bpd) were offline on Tuesday, representing 23 percent of U.S. production, Goldman Sachs said. Restarting plants even under the best conditions can take a week or more.
Brent oil LCOc1, the international benchmark for crude trading, was down 52 cents at $51.48 a barrel by 1339 GMT. U.S. crude CLc1 fell 42 cents to $46.02.
In refined products, price movement was more dramatic and gains increased after sources on Wednesday said Total’s Port Arthur, Texas, refinery had been shut by a power outage resulting from the storm.
U.S. gasoline futures RBc1 were up 6.4 percent at $1.8966 a gallon, having hit $1.9022, the highest since July 2015. Diesel futures HOc1 advanced by 1.8 percent to $1.6960 a gallon, having touched their highest since January at $1.7161.