Saudi Arabia Macroeconomic Developments: The YoY value of real estate transactions in Saudi Arabia increased 2 percent, or SAR2.7 billion ($720 million), to reach SAR160 billion ($42.7 billion) as of August 31, 2020. The latest data from the Saudi Ministry of Justice showed the first value increase of real estate deals in six years. A total of 296,700 units were sold over the 12-month period. The value of weekly point-of-sale (POS) transactions fell 1.1 percent while the number of transactions increased 6.9 percent. Telecommunications (+9 percent) and clothing & footwear (+8 percent) spending topped other sectors while education fell 34 percent on the week. Sectors hard-hit from the pandemic showed mixed trends as spending at hotels declined 3.4 percent, but transportation spending increased 2.5 percent.
U.S. Macroeconomic Developments: Small business optimism rebounded during August to reach just over 100 as most of the index components improved. Hiring plans improved while expectations towards sales and further economic improvement declined. Capital outlay plans remained unchanged. The percentage of firms expecting economic conditions to improve over the next months has been slipping since June. Initial weekly jobless claims held steady at 884,000 while the number of individuals filing for pandemic unemployment assistance (PUA) rose for the fourth consecutive week to reach 839,000. PUA represents roughly half of continuing unemployment claims.