Archive for May, 2019

Home Sales Year over Year March 2019

United States S&P Case-Shiller Home Price Index

The S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller 20-city home price index in the US rose 2.7 percent year-on-year in March 2019, slowing from a revised 3 percent increase in the previous month and missing market expectations of 2.6 percent. It was the smallest annual gain in house prices since August 2012. Las Vegas recorded the biggest increase in home prices (8.2 percent), followed by Phoenix (6.1 percent) and Tampa (5.3 percent), while the smallest gains were reported in San Diego (1.3 percent), Los Angeles (1.3 percent) and San Francisco (1.4 percent). The national index, covering all nine US census divisions, went up 3.7 percent in March, down from a 3.9 percent rise in the prior month. Case Shiller Home Price Index in the United States averaged 163.37 Index Points from 2000 until 2019, reaching an all time high of 213.83 Index Points in August of 2018 and a record low of 100 Index Points in January of 2000.

Calendar GMT Actual Previous Consensus TEForecast
2019-03-26 01:00 PM S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price YoY 3.6% 4.1% 4% 4.2%
2019-03-26 01:00 PM S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price MoM -0.2% -0.2% -0.1%
2019-04-30 01:00 PM S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price MoM 0.2% -0.2% 0% 0.3%
2019-04-30 01:00 PM S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price YoY 3% 3.5% 3.2% 3.2%
2019-06-25 01:00 PM S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price YoY 2.7%
2019-06-25 01:00 PM S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price MoM 0.7%
2019-07-30 01:00 PM S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price MoM  


United States Housing Last Previous Highest Lowest Unit
Building Permits 1290.00 1288.00 2419.00 513.00 Thousand [+]
Housing Starts 1235.00 1168.00 2494.00 478.00 Thousand units [+]
New Home Sales 673.00 723.00 1389.00 270.00 Thousand units [+]
Pending Home Sales -1.20 -4.90 30.90 -24.30 percent [+]
Existing Home Sales 5190.00 5210.00 7250.00 1370.00 Thousand [+]
Construction Spending -0.90 0.70 5.90 -4.80 percent [+]
Housing Index 0.10 0.40 1.20 -1.70 percent [+]
Nahb Housing Market Index 66.00 63.00 78.00 8.00 [+]
Mortgage Rate 4.33 4.33 10.56 3.47 percent [+]
Mortgage Applications -3.30 2.40 49.10 -38.80 percent [+]
Case Shiller Home Price Index 214.09 212.61 214.09 100.00 Index Points [+]
Home Ownership Rate 64.20 64.80 69.20 62.90 percent [+]


Prime Minister May Resigns

Mrs. May is leaving Downing Street, but not today.

Facing a cabinet rebellion, Theresa May set out Friday morning a timetable for her departure from office.

Standing in front of 10 Downing Street, Mrs. May said it was in the “best interests of the country for a new prime minister” to lead Britain through the Brexit process. She announced plans to step down as the leader of the Conservative Party on June 7, with the process to replace her beginning the following week. She will remain as a lame-duck prime minister until a new leader is chosen, probably by the end of July.

“I feel as certain today as I did three years ago that in a democracy, if you give people a choice you have a duty to implement what they decide. I have done my best to do that,” she added. “I have done everything I can to convince M.P.s to back that deal. Sadly, I have not been able to do so.”

[Read Mrs. May’s entire speech here.]

Mrs. May’s voice cracked as she said she was honored to serve the country as the “second female prime minister, but certainly not the last,” and said the role had been the honor of her life.

The speech followed a meeting with Graham Brady, a powerful leader of backbench Conservative lawmakers.

She will continue as a member of Parliament after stepping down as prime minister, the Press Association news agency has reported.


US Housing Starts Rise Above Forecast

US Housing Starts Rise Above Forecast

Housing starts in the US rose 5.7 percent from a month earlier to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1,235 thousand units in April 2019, more than an expected 1,205 thousand and

Following a revised 1.7 percent advance in March.


Calendar GMT Actual Previous Consensus TEForecast
2019-03-08 01:30 PM Housing Starts 1.23M 1.037M 1.197M 1.15M
2019-03-26 12:30 PM Housing Starts 1.162M 1.273M 1.213M 1.15M
2019-04-19 12:30 PM Housing Starts 1.139M 1.142M 1.23M 1.300M
2019-05-16 12:30 PM Housing Starts 1.235M 1.168M 1.205M 1.197M
2019-06-18 12:30 PM Housing Starts 1.235M
2019-07-17 12:30 PM Housing Starts 1.218M
2019-08-16 12:30 PM Housing Starts

Single-family homebuilding, which accounts for the largest share of the housing market, rose 6.2 percent to a rate of 854 thousand units in April and starts for the volatile multi-family housing segment advanced 4.7 percent to a rate of 381 thousand units. Increases in housing starts were recorded in the Northeast (84.6 percent to 144 thousand) and Midwest (42 percent to 186 thousand), while declines were seen in the South (-5.7 percent to 581 thousand) and West (-5.5 percent to 324 thousand). Starts for March were revised to 1,168 thousand from 1,139 thousand.

Building permits were up 0.6 percent to a rate of 1,296 thousand units in April, while markets had expected a 0.5 percent gain. Permits for the volatile multi-family housing segment increased 8.9 percent to 514 thousand, while single-family authorizations fell 4.2 percent to 782 thousand. Across regions, permits were higher in the West (5.3 percent to 339 thousand) and Midwest (2.2 percent to 188 thousand), but dropped in the Northeast (-4 percent to 120 thousand) and South (-1.2 percent to 649 thousand).


China April Trade Surplus Far Below Estimates

China April Trade Surplus Far Below Estimates

China’s trade surplus fell to USD 13.84 billion in April 2019 from USD 26.21 billion in the same month a year earlier and missing market consensus of a surplus of USD 35.0 billion. Year-on-year, imports advanced 4.0 percent to USD 179.65, while export fell 2.7 percent to USD 193.49 billion. The trade surplus with the US, China’s largest export market, was at USD 21.01 billion in April, little-changed from a surplus USD 20.50 billion in March.

Imports surprisingly rose by 4 percent year-on-year to USD 179.65 billion in April, against market expectations of a 3.6 percent fall and reversing from a 7.6 percent drop in the previous month. This marked the first yearly increase in inbound shipments since November last year. Purchases of crude oil surged 11 percent year-on-year to a record high of 43.73 million tonnes, equal to 10.64 million barrels per day/bpd, and rose by 15 percent from March’s 9.26 million bpd. Also, total natural gas imports went up 12 percent year-on-year to 7.65 million tonnes, and grew by 10.2 percent from March’s 6.94 million tonnes. In addition, inbound shipments of soybeans expanded 10.7 percent from the prior year to 7.64 million tonnes, with buyers delaying cargoes to arrive in April to take advantage of a cut in the value-added tax/VAT on agricultural products effective from 1st April; and soared 55 percent month-over-month from 4.92 million in March. As part of a trade conflict with the US, China slapped a 25 percent tariff on US soybeans last July. The US and Brazil were the two largest suppliers of soybeans to China until the start of the trade row. In contrast, China’s iron ore imports fell to the lowest in 1-1/2 years, as poor weather in Brazil, the country’s second-largest supplier, disrupted shipments; and as some mining production halted their production following recent accident. Inbound shipments of coal went up 13.6 percent to 25.3 million tonnes. Additionally, purchases of unwrought copper decreased 8.4 percent to 405,000 tonnes, but rose 3.6 percent from the prior’s month 391,000 tonnes.


Among China’s biggest trade partners, purchases grew mainly from Japan (1.4 percent), the EU (4.4 percent), Australia (18 percent) and the ASEAN countries (10.4 percent), while contracted from the US (-25.7 percent), South Korea (-2.4 percent), and Taiwan (-6.8 percent).

Exports unexpectedly declined by 2.7 percent to USD 193.49 billion, swinging from a 14.2 percent jump in the previous month and missing market estimates of a 2.3 percent growth. The latest reading on overseas sales reflected weakening global demand as well as renewed trade dispute with the US, at which higher tariffs on USD 200 billion worth of Chinese goods will soon take effect. Sales of steel products fell 2.3 percent to 6.33 million tonnes and were unchanged from the previous month. Additionally, exports of coal declined 2.0 percent to 0.50 million tonnes, and dropped 12.3 percent from March’s 0.57 million tonnes. Meanwhile, sales of unwrought aluminium and aluminium products went up 10.4 percent from a year earlier to 498,000 tonnes in March, but declined 8.8 percent from February’s 546,000 tonnes. Also, exports of rice jumped 112.7 percent to 357,000 tonnes and climbed 84.7 percent from the prior month’s 190,000 tonnes.

Sales declined to the US (-13.2 percent), Japan (-16.4 percent), South Korea (-7.7 percent), and Australia (-13.8 percent), while went up to Taiwan (4.6 percent), the EU (6.2 percent), and the ASEAN countries (0.4 percent).

For the January to April period, the trade surplus with the US was recorded at USD 83.66 billion.

Considering the first four months of the year, China’s trade surplus widened to USD 90.16 billion from USD 70.94 billion in the corresponding period 2018.

In yuan-denominated terms, China’s trade surplus came in at CNY 93.57 billion in April, as exports grew by 3.1 percent while imports expanded at a faster 10.3 percent.



Fed Interest Rate Decision


Fed Holds Rates as Expected, Reaffirms Patience Approach

The Federal Reserve kept the target range for the federal funds rate at 2.25 percent to 2.25 percent during its May meeting, saying that economic activity has been rising at a solid rate and that labour market remains strong.

The Committee also reaffirmed its position to be patient about further policy firming.

FOMC Statement:

Information received since the Federal Open Market Committee met in March indicates that the labor market remains strong and that economic activity rose at a solid rate. Job gains have been solid, on average, in recent months, and the unemployment rate has remained low. Growth of household spending and business fixed investment slowed in the first quarter. On a 12-month basis, overall inflation and inflation for items other than food and energy have declined and are running below 2 percent. On balance, market-based measures of inflation compensation have remained low in recent months, and survey-based measures of longer-term inflation expectations are little changed.

Consistent with its statutory mandate, the Committee seeks to foster maximum employment and price stability. In support of these goals, the Committee decided to maintain the target range for the federal funds rate at 2-1/4 to 2-1/2 percent. The Committee continues to view sustained expansion of economic activity, strong labor market conditions, and inflation near the Committee’s symmetric 2 percent objective as the most likely outcomes. In light of global economic and financial developments and muted inflation pressures, the Committee will be patient as it determines what future adjustments to the target range for the federal funds rate may be appropriate to support these outcomes.

In determining the timing and size of future adjustments to the target range for the federal funds rate, the Committee will assess realized and expected economic conditions relative to its maximum employment objective and its symmetric 2 percent inflation objective. This assessment will take into account a wide range of information, including measures of labor market conditions, indicators of inflation pressures and inflation expectations, and readings on financial and international developments.