Tuesday, March 17, 2009
In Case You Missed It
US Feb Housing Starts Unexpectedly Surge
WASHINGTON -(Dow Jones)- Home construction unexpectedly surged in February, rebounding somewhat from seven consecutive declines as apartments soared and single-family housing rose weakly.
Housing starts increased 22.2% to a seasonally adjusted 583,000 annual rate compared to the prior month, after plunging 14.5% in January to 477,000, the Commerce Department said Tuesday. Originally, Commerce reported January starts down 16.8% to 466,000.
But the stunning data don't reverse the grim fundamentals that have eroded the housing sector. Year over year, housing starts were 47.3% below the pace of construction in February 2008. High inventories and declining sales are discouraging builders. A report Monday showed their confidence remains in the dumps. The National Association of Home Builders' housing market index held constant at 9 in March. Recent government data said new-home sales sank in January a sixth month in a row, down nearly 50% from the year-earlier level. The supply of new homes at the current sales rate on the market rose to 13.3, a very high number that's helping drive down prices. The falling prices, in turn, are pushing would-be buyers away from signing off on property. Rising layoffs and tight credit are also turning them away. Buyers are snapping up distressed properties that have multiplied with increased foreclosures; this prices new homes out of the market and further idles builders.
Driving the surge in starts was apartment construction. But construction in February of single-family homes and apartments rose, too. Single-family starts increased 1.1% to 357,000. Construction of housing with two or more units climbed 82.3% to 226,000; within that category, groundbreakings of homes with five or more units - or multi-family - were 79.7% higher.
The headline flat out LIES!
US PPI Up 2nd-Straight Month; Easing Deflation Risk
WASHINGTON (Dow Jones)--U.S. producer prices rose for a second-straight month in February, easing worries somewhat about the risk of protracted, economy-wide price declines known as deflation.
Still, the overall increase was less than expected, and with pipeline measures of intermediate and raw materials prices both down for a seventh-straight month, a resurgence of inflation doesn't seem likely either.
That should in turn free up Federal Reserve officials to continue pursuing expansionary policies to stabilize financial markets and revive the economy.
Somebody, please explain to me how a "resurgence of inflation doesn't seem likely" if Federal Reserve officials "continue pursuing expansionary policies...to revive the economy." That is the most pathetic reporting I've found today...
US capital flows negative in January
WASHINGTON (AFP) — Foreign investors sold a net 43 billion dollars in long-term US securities in January as the flow of capital turned negative, US Treasury data showed Monday.
The decline in foreign holdings was the steepest since August 2007.
The Treasury data showed a decline in both private purchase and official government or central bank purchases of US securities, including US Treasury and agency bonds, and to a smaller degree, equities.
When short-term securities are added to the figures, it shows a capital deficit of 148.9 billion dollars.
Considering last months $36 BILLION Trade Deficit, these TIC flows numbers for January should be ALARMING. The country came up $79 BILLION short of covering the most recent monthly Trade Deficit [-$43 + -$36 = -$79 BILLION ].
The monthly Treasury International Capital report [TIC flows] measures net capital flows crossing U.S. borders, or how much capital comes to the U.S. from other countries and how much capital leaves the U.S. for other countries. The difference between the two reflects the current account balance.
This is "potentially" very bad news for the US Treasury Bond market moving forward. US Dollar negative, and a huge positive for Gold.
And last on our news you may have missed list:
President Obama and Sen. Dodd were the two largest recipients of campaign contributions from the beleaguered company, and the only politicians to garner six-figure amounts from AIG in 2008 — $103,100 for Sen. Dodd and $100,332 for presidential candidate Obama.
This little revelation should gather some legs as the week moves along. The Obama "outraged"?
Needless to say: BUY GOLD!