Thursday, 21 July 2011

US existing home sales drop, Japan's trade returns to surplus

The US housing market is still struggling to recover. From Bloomberg on Thursday:

Sales of previously owned U.S. homes unexpectedly declined in June to a seven-month low as the industry struggled to overcome rising unemployment and foreclosures.

Purchases dropped 0.8 percent to a 4.77 million pace, data from the National Association of Realtors showed today in Washington. The median projection in a Bloomberg News survey called for a gain to 4.9 million. Inventories increased, more contracts were canceled and 30 percent of transactions last month were of distressed dwellings, the figures showed.

Fortunately, Japan's recovery from its earthquake and tsunami in March continued last month. From AFP/CNA:

Japan logged 70.7 billion yen (US$897 million) in trade surplus in June, about a tenth of the year-before surplus but the first black ink in three months, data from the finance ministry showed...

Exports totalled 5.78 trillion yen, down 1.6 per cent from a year earlier.

It was a much smaller drop compared with falls of 10.3 per cent in May and 12.4 per cent in April...

Overall imports rose 9.8 per cent to 5.71 trillion yen due to higher oil and other commodity prices, extending their rising streak to an 18th consecutive month.

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