24 April 2008

Economics Update

Unemployment claims fell again, note my standard caveat about noisy measures though.

Note also that new-home sales are unbelievably grim. An 8.5% drop month to month is falling off a cliff, but this is following the numbers being revised downward for the month of February.

If that doesn't scare you, there is a Credit Suisse research report that suggests that there will be 6.5 million foreclosures by 2012:
The foreclosures could put 12.7 percent of all residential borrowers out of their homes, Credit Suisse analysts, led by Rod Dubitsky, said in the report. That compares with a foreclosure rate of 2.04 percent in the last quarter of 2007, they said, citing Mortgage Bankers Association data.
That is one out of 8 residential borrowers.

That's too bearish for even me, and I'm the biggest bear out there.

In terms of non-residential real estate measures, we have the Architecture Billings Index (ABI) dropping to its lowest level ever, suggesting that commercial real estate's about to tank too, and orders for durable goods, items expected to last 3 or more years, fell 0.3% from February, worse than expected.

The drop in unemployment claims triggered a drop in treasuries and a strengthening of the dollar, because it makes it less likely that the Fed will cut rates at its next meeting.

Truth be told, the Fed cutting rates won't do much anyway, as is shown by mortgage rates continued upward path.

The Fed has lowered rates below the effective inflation rate, and so their rates have decoupled from the commercial rates.


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