US Update – Rally in Housing Starts
US housing starts surged 19.4% to 1.739 mln in March, much stronger than expected, following the drops of -11.3% to 1.457 mln in February and -1.7% to 1.642 in January. Single family sales jumped 15.3% to 1.238 mln after sliding -6.8% in February to 1.074 mln. Multifamily starts climbed 30.8% to 0.501 mln after plunging -21.8% to 0.383 mln in February. Starts increased strongly in all three of the four regions with a 122.8% pop in the Midwest, a 64.0% gain in the Northeast, a 13.5% rise in the South, and a -13.6% decline in the West. March building permits bounced 2.7% to 1.766 mln following the -8.8% decline to 1.720 mln. Completions increased 16.6% to 1.580 mln from 1.355 mln. Weather distortions played a big role in the February and March swings.
Still to come today the key Michigan Consumer Sentiment index which is expected to increase to 89.2 from 84.9 from last month. Stock markets have opened up at record highs with the USA500 trading at 4186. The Dollar edged slightly higher following the housing starts data, which handily beat expectations. USDJPY moved a few points higher to 108.85, while EURUSD dipped to 1.1980. Gold having touched a February 25 high at $1780 on the cooler yields over the last two days, is back to $1775.
Head Market Analyst
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