Thursday, 18 October 2012

US housing starts surge, UK employment hits record high

The positive dataflow in the US continued on Wednesday with housing starts reportedly surging 15.0 percent in September to an annual rate of 872,000, the highest since July 2008. Building permits grew 11.6 percent to a 894,000-unit annual rate.

There was also good news from the UK on Wednesday. Claims for jobless benefits fell by 4,000 in September and the unemployment rate for June to August fell to 7.9 percent from 8.1 percent in the prior three months. The employment level rose to 29.590 million, the highest since records began in January-March 1971.

Even the euro area had positive data to report on Wednesday. Construction production rose 0.7 percent in August, the second consecutive increase after output had risen 0.1 percent in July.

Perhaps more significantly for the euro area, Spanish bonds rose on Wednesday, pushing the 10-year yield down 34 basis points to 5.46 percent, the lowest since 4 April, after Moody’s Investors Service kept the country’s credit rating at investment grade.

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