Tuesday, 20 November 2012

Housing markets improve in US, UK and China, France's credit rating downgraded

The US housing market appears to have escaped the effects of superstorm Sandy.

The National Association of Realtors reported on Monday that existing home sales rose 2.1 percent in October. That helped to push the number of previously-owned homes on the market down 1.4 percent to 2.14 million, the fewest since December 2002. Inventory is now just 5.4 months worth of sales, the least since February 2006 and down from 5.6 months in September.

The improvement in the housing market is also evident from home builder sentiment. The National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo housing market index rose to 46 in November, the highest level since May 2006, from 41 in October.

Meanwhile, there were signs of recovery in the UK housing market in November. Rightmove reported on Monday that average asking prices were up 2 percent year-on-year, the highest annual rate of increase seen in November since 2007.

China's housing market also appears to be stabilising. Prices in 35 out of 70 cities tracked by the government rose in October, up from 31 cities in September and the first increase since July.

The reports on the euro area on Monday, however, were not as positive.

Construction output in the euro area fell 1.4 percent in September.

Italian industrial orders fell 4.0 percent in September.

Finally, Moody's Investors Service downgraded France's sovereign rating to Aa1 from Aaa on Monday. It maintained a negative outlook on the country's rating.

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