No Change To US House Price Index
The publication of the Housing Price Index number for February has just provided an insight into the strength of the US housing market. Month on month this figure came in at 0.6%, the expectation was for exactly this figure following January’s 0.5% reading.
Further insight into short term US economic conditions was revealed with the publication earlier of the Johnson Redbook Index. This is a weekly retail sales number that largely correlates with the official US Retail Sales data. The annualized number is 3.7% against a previous reading of 2.6%, the month on month number was reported as -0.5% up from last weeks 1% drop.
These figures provide a good warm up to the week following the long Easter weekend but they are unlikely to set the tone for the market in their own right. The US will be releasing plenty of economic data over the remainder of the week that should paint a much clearer picture as to the ongoing recovery and a couple of Treasury bond auctions later today will give some guidance as to whether there has been any change in the market’s positive mood toward the US.
Despite structural difficulties in the US jobs recovery, last week’s benchmark Michigan sentiment indicator came in at another long term high, this positive attitude is being attributed to a continuing deluge in upbeat data publications following the release of a demand build up over the excessively harsh winter.
The Federal Reserve is expected to continue to pare back it’s bond purchasing program at the existing slow pace so as not to clash with the natural pick up in the economy and risk a situation where short term overheating undermines the patient and persistent efforts of the US monetary authorities in guiding the world’s largest economy back to growth.
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