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US Redbook Figures Improve, Housing Data Mixed

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We have just received an insight into the condition of the US housing market with the publication of the Housing Price Index number for January. Month on month this figure came in at 0.8%, the expectation was for a slight drop to 0.7% but this held up to match the December reading of 0.8%.

Slightly contradicting this data was the simultaneous publication of the S&P/Case-Schiller Home Price Indices. This is a year on year number and reveals annual growth in US house prices, this months reading is 13.2%, down on the previous number of 13.4%, consensus expectations were for a reading of 13.3%.

Additionally just prior to the publication of the housing data we received information on the Johnson Redbook Index. This is a de facto retail sales number that largely overlaps with the official US Retail Sales data and as such is given similar credence by the market. The annualized number is 3.1% against a previous reading of 2.8%, in an indication of the trend the month on month number was reported as -0.4% up from the December print of -0.5%.

These figures paint a good picture of the current state of the US economy but are very much the warm up data releases of the day, Home Sales and Consumer Confidence are to follow in the next hour and should a better steer as to the health of the recovery.

Currency markets will no doubt reflect investor’s interpretations of today’s data releases however the truer picture of market satisfaction is likely to show through in the yields achieved by a series of Government debt auctions later today. A tranche of 4 week bills and 2 year notes are up for sale by the US Department of Treasury this afternoon, recently yields have been rising on these debt instruments as the market re-asses the current risk environment.

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