Monday, June 18, 2007

Lowest since 1991 ......

US Homebuilders’ confidence fell this month to the lowest since February 1991 as interest rates climbed and delinquencies surged. The National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo index of sentiment declined to 28 this month from 30 in May. Readings below 50 mean most homebuilders view the housing market conditions as poor. Homebuilders are losing money as they cut prices to stem a slide in sales as banks tightened the standards for mortgages applications and approvals. Builders have scaled back projects to work off bloated inventories, a sign housing construction will weigh on growth for the rest of the year. Federal Reserve last month acknowledged that the housing recession will hold down growth longer than they had anticipated, but at the same time maintained the outlook for “moderate'' growth in the overall economy as consumer spending gains and manufacturing accelerates.

Crude oil: Approaching US$70 per barrel due to risks on Nigerian supplies. Crude oil price for July delivery jumped by US$1.09 or 1.6% to nine-month high of US$69.09 per barrel after Chevron Corp. and Eni SpA yesterday reported attacks on facilities in Nigeria, where the two main oil workers’ unions plan to join an indefinite general strike.

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