Thursday, 28 May 2009

US existing home sales, Japanese exports and French confidence rise

Wednesday provided a bit more hope that the US housing slump is easing. From Bloomberg:

Home resales in the U.S. rose for the second time in three months in April as foreclosure auctions and cheaper prices spurred bargain hunters, buttressing the case for an end to the industry’s slump this year.

Purchases increased 2.9 percent to an annual rate of 4.68 million, in line with forecasts, from 4.55 million in March, National Association of Realtors figures showed in Washington. The median price slumped 15 percent from a year earlier, the second-biggest drop on record. A separate report indicated that the slump in home values eased in the first quarter.

Meanwhile, Japan's export slump may be at an end. From Bloomberg:

Japan’s export slump moderated in April, helping the country post an unexpected trade surplus and adding to signs the worst recession since World War II is easing.

Shipments abroad fell 39.1 percent from a year earlier, after dropping 45.5 percent in March and a record 49.4 percent in February, the Finance Ministry said today in Tokyo. From a month earlier, exports rose 1.9 percent, a second straight gain.

And confidence is rising in several major European economies. Again from Bloomberg:

French consumer and manufacturer confidence rose in May and optimism among Italian executives held at the highest in more than year on expectations the worst of the recession is over.

French manufacturing confidence gained for a second month, while consumer optimism advanced to highest in 13 months, Insee, the national statistics office said. In Italy, household confidence matched the April reading, the highest since December 2007, the country’s national statistics institute reported.

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