The UK housing market keeps surprising with its resilience. Reuters reports:
The Bank of England said on Thursday that mortgage lending rose by 10.256 billion pounds in February, up from 9.520 billion the month before and stronger than forecasts for a 9.4 billion pound increase.
Mortgage approvals -- a leading indicator of house prices -- were also higher than expected at 119,000 last month. This was unchanged from January and above forecasts that they would drop to 117,000...
Consumer credit, however, rose less than expected and was up 919 million pounds -- the smallest increase since September 2006 -- suggesting consumers were a little more cautious about taking on unsecured debt.
It looks like more rate hikes from the Bank of England, especially with M4 growing 0.9 percent in February or at a 12.7-percent annual rate.
The UK consumer is not doing too badly either. From Reuters:
The Confederation of British Industry said its distributive trades survey's reported sales balance came in at +32 in March, up from +19 in February, posting the highest reading since December 2004. Analysts had forecast a reading of +15.
Meanwhile, US fourth quarter GDP growth has been revised higher. MarketWatch reports:
The nation's economy grew at a 2.5% annual pace in the final three months of 2006, slightly faster than the previous estimate of 2.2%, the Commerce Department reported Thursday.
The upward revision to gross domestic product mainly reflected higher prices for trucks that boosted vehicle inventories. Investments in software were revised slightly lower. Exports were revised higher...
The personal consumption expenditure price index fell at a 1% annual rate, revised from 0.9% reported earlier. In addition, the core PCE price index, which excludes food and energy, rose 1.8%, revised from 1.9%...
Meanwhile, corporate profits declined for the first time in five quarters, falling by $4.9 billion, or at a 0.3% quarterly rate, after rising $61.5 billion, or 3.9%, in the third quarter.
After-tax profits grew $9.6 billion, or 0.8%. Before-tax profits were up 18.3% from the fourth quarter of 2005 to the fourth quarter of 2006.