Existing Home Sales (May)

Existing home sales saw a decent rise in May, but that doesn’t mean activity will now take-off even with interest rates set for further falls. Subdued home buying sentiment, a lack of inventory and gradual tightening in mortgage lending standards will keep sales at close to their current level over the next year.
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US Housing Market Data Response

Mortgage Applications (Nov.)

A rise in mortgage rates to an eight-month high of 3.31% by the end of November failed to dampen home purchase demand, which surged to a nine-month high. The drop in 10-year Treasury yields from the arrival of the Omicron variant implies mortgage rates will fall back over the next couple of weeks, which may provide some further support to demand. But with affordability stretched we doubt the current level of home purchase applications can be sustained beyond the next few weeks.

1 December 2021

US Housing Market Data Response

Case-Shiller/FHFA House Prices (Sep.)

Annual house price growth fell for the first time in 16-months in September, and stretched affordability means it should continue to slow. It is too soon to say what impact the arrival of the Omicron variant will have on the housing market. But one immediate effect has been a fall in interest rates, which if sustained may give prices some support over the remainder of the year.

30 November 2021

US Housing Market Update

Why are pending and existing home sales diverging?

An increase in the quality of mortgage borrowers, and record low inventory, are boosting the mortgage closing rate and leading to an increase in the share of pending home sales converted into existing home sales. Those factors are not set to go into reverse anytime soon, so we don’t think existing sales will snap back to match the pending sales index over the next few months.

29 November 2021

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Commodities Weekly Wrap

Middle East tensions back in the spotlight

Having surged this week, the price of oil could rise further in the near term if tensions between Iran and the US continue to escalate. At the same time, the price of gold is benefitting from an increase in safe-haven demand and a weaker US dollar. The prices of most industrial commodities also rose this week as both the Fed and the ECB signalled looser monetary policy and President Trump announced that he would meet with President Xi on the sidelines of the G20 meeting. Markets will be closely watching events in the Gulf over the next few days. Elsewhere, the G20 summit in Osaka, Japan, gets under way on Friday and all eyes will be on the Trump-Xi meeting. Even if some sort of trade agreement is reached between the two leaders, we do not think it will last. A deal which would be acceptable to both sides appears increasingly remote. We suspect that by early next year, nearly all of China’s exports to the US will be subject to tariffs. Finally, the biannual OPEC and OPEC+ meetings that had been scheduled for next week have been postponed until 1st-2nd July, reportedly because Russia was keen that the meetings be held after the G20.

21 June 2019

Africa Economics Weekly

Easing cycle gains momentum, no news from SONA

Inflation figures released in South Africa and Nigeria this week supported our view that policymakers in both countries will loosen monetary policy later this year. Rates elsewhere are already falling; the Bank of Mozambique cut by 25bp this week. President Cyril Ramaphosa’s State of the Nation Address was disappointingly light on substance, suggesting that divisions within the ANC are hobbling policymaking.

21 June 2019
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