Friday, 24 March 2006

Positive economic news from the US, Japan and the UK

Reuters reports a rebound in the US housing market:

The pace of home resales in the United States picked up by 5.2 percent in February, defying forecasts for a slowdown, as warm weather boosted single-family and condo sales, according to trade group data on Thursday that showed a pause in the market's cool-down.

Sales of existing U.S. homes rose to a 6.91 million unit annual rate in February, halting a string of monthly declines, after January's upwardly revised 6.57 million unit pace, the National Association of Realtors said...

But inventories also climbed 5.2 percent, leaving 3.03 million existing homes available for sale. That equates to 5.3 months' supply at the current sales pace...

The median existing home price in February was $209,000, up 10.6 percent from a year ago. That is below the larger double-digit monthly increases posted in recent years, the group's data showed. Condo price appreciation stood at 3.5 percent in February. well as the labour market:

A separate report showed new claims for U.S. jobless benefits fell by a larger-than-expected 11,000 last week, suggesting a healthy labor market and more job growth in March.

The Labor Department said the number of Americans filing initial claims for state unemployment aid fell to 302,000 in the week ended March 18 from an upwardly revised 313,000 in the prior week. It was the first drop in claims after three straight weekly increases.

There was also positive news coming out of Japan in the form of a rebound in its trade balance:

Japan's trade account showed a surplus of 955.7 billion yen (US$8.5 billion) last month, 11.8 percent lower than a year ago, the finance ministry said...

Exports rose 20.8 percent to 5.85 trillion yen while imports jumped 30.2 percent to 4.90 trillion yen because of high oil import costs.

...and rising land prices in Tokyo:

Land prices in Tokyo rose in 2005 for the first time in 15 years as Japan's steady economic recovery led to strong consumer demand for condominiums and voracious demand from investors seeking commercial land, a government survey showed on Thursday...

On average, nationwide residential land prices and commercial land prices both fell 2.7 percent in 2005.

In Tokyo prefecture, residential land prices rose 0.8 percent, while commercial land prices increased 2.9 percent.

And although UK car production fell in the three months to February, manufacturing in the UK on the whole looks headed for a rebound, according to the Confederation of British Industry.

In the monthly Industrial Trends Survey, 18 per cent of manufacturers reported their order books were 'above normal' compared to 34 per cent who said they were 'below normal.'

The balance of minus 16 per cent is the most upbeat since March 2005 (-13%) and an improvement of 12 points since January.


rtalcott said...

I'm confused...

February new home sales tumble, supply soars

Friday March 24, 10:02 AM EST

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Sales of new U.S. homes plunged 10.5 percent in February, the biggest drop in nearly nine years, while prices fell and the number of homes on the market hit a record high, the government said on Friday in a report signaling significant slowing in the housing market.

The pace of new single-family home sales slowed to a 1.080 million unit annual rate in February from January's downwardly revised 1.207 million unit rate, the Commerce Department said.

lim said...

New home sales and supply do often move in opposite directions.

See charts in Troublesome Correction in Market for New Homes from Northern Trust.

rtalcott said...

Damn...sorry...I saw the headlines but the details didn't vs. existing!

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