Housing Starts

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Audit The Fed - And Shackle It, Too





The monetary politburo has every reason to fear Rand Paul’s demand for a “policy audit” of the Fed. An honest one would show that its so-called “independence” has been monumentally abused in a manner which is deeply threatening to both political democracy and capitalist prosperity. Needless to say, we can’t have that audit soon enough. In short, what the nation really needs is not an “independent” Fed, but one that is shackled to a narrow and market-driven liquidity function. The rest of its current remit is nothing more than the self-serving aggrandizement of the apparatchiks who run it; and who have now managed to turn the nation’s vital money and capital markets into dangerous, unstable casinos, and the nations savers into indentured servants of a bloated and wasteful banking system.

 
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Market Wrap: Futures Unchanged As Algos Patiently Await The ECB's "Monumental Decision"





With less than two hours until the ECB unveils its first official quantitative easing program, the markets appear to be in a unchanged daze. Well, not all markets: the Japanese bond market overnight suffered its worst sell off in months on a jump in volume, although for context this means the 10Year dropping from 0.25% to 0.32%. Whether this is a hint of the "sell the news" that may follow Draghi's announcement is unclear, although Europe has seen comparable weakness across its bond space as well and the US 10 Year has sold off all the way to 1.91%, which is impressive considering it was trading under 1.80% just a few days ago. Stocks for now are largely unchanged with futures barely budging and tracking the USDJPY which after rising above 118 again overnight, has seen active selling ever since the close of the Japanese session.

 
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Building Permits Slide For 2nd Month, Miss Expectations; Starts Near Cycle Highs





For the 2nd month in a row, Building Permits dropped and missed expectations. The 1.9% MoM drop in December was a notable miss against expectations of a 0.6% rise and left YoY Permits at a mere +1.0% - hovering at the weakest growth since mid 2011. The long-heralded savior of permits - multi-family - tumbled to their lowest since June; with overall permits lower in all regions aside from the "weather-affected" Midwest. Housing Starts rose back near cycle highs (just don't tell KB Homes) beating expectations for the 4th month in a row.

 
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Frontrunning: January 21





  • Obama Targets Income Gap in Address That Shapes 2016 Election (BBG)
  • Republicans Reject Obama’s Main Economic Proposals (WSJ)
  • Senate’s Shelby Says White House Bank Tax Is Dead on Arrival (BBG)
  • Is Dollar Next? Investors Reassess After Swiss Shock: Currencies (BBG)
  • Bank of Japan Cuts Price Forecast, Maintains Record Stimulus (BBG)
  • Pound Weakens After BOE Policy Makers Drop Call to Raise Rates (BBG)
  • Putin not flinching on Ukraine despite economic crisis (Reuters)
  • Indonesia will not make public full preliminary AirAsia crash report (Reuters)
  • Party Hasn't Stopped for Russians at Davos Even With Ukraine Sanctions (BBG)
 
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Market Wrap: Futures Lower After BOJ Disappoints, ECB's Nowotny Warns "Not To Get Overexcited"; China Soars





Three days after Chinese stocks suffered their biggest plunge in 7 years, the bubble euphoria is back and laying ruin to the banks' best laid plans that this selloff will finally be the start of an RRR-cut, after China's habitual gamblers promptly forget the market crash that happened just 48 hours ago and once again went all-in, sending the Shanghai Composite soaring most since October 9, 2009.  It wasn't just China that appears confused: so is the BOJ whose minutes disappointed markets which had been expecting at least a little additional monetary goosing from the Japanese central bank involving at least a cut of the rate on overnight excess reserves, sending both the USDJPY and US equity futures lower. Finally, in the easter egg department, with the much-anticipated ECB announcement just 24 hours away, none other than the ECB's Ewald Nowotny threw a glass of cold water in the faces of algos everywhere when he said that tomorrow's meeting will be interesting but one "shouldn’t get overexcited about it."

 
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Market Wrap: Chinese Stocks Crash As Financials Suffer Record Drop; Commodities Resume Decline; US Closed





Following last week's Swiss stock market massacre as a result of a central bank shocker, and last night's crack down by Chinese authorities, it almost appears as if the global powers are doing what they can to orchestrated a smooth, painless (as much as possible) bubble deflation. If so, what Draghi reveals in a few days may truly come as a surprise to all those- pretty much everyone - who anticipate a €500 billion QE announcement on Thursday.

 
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The Next Victim Of Crashing Oil Prices: Housing





While a record amount of ink has been spilled praising the benefits of plunging crude price on the US consumer, so far this has manifested merely in soaring consumer confidence, if not in an actual boost to retail sales. Less has been written about the adverse side-effects of plunging oil, even though by now even the most “undisputed” permabulls have been forced to admit that the imminent collapse in capital spending is truly “unprecedented”, a phrase Goldman uses in the chart below.  So what does plunging CapEx actually mean for the economy, aside from a major haircut to 2015 GDP, and what other areas of the economy will be affected by the Saudi Arabian scorched earth war on the US shale industry?

 
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Home Prices See Biggest Monthly Drop Since Polar Vortex As Case-Shiller Declines For Second Month





Case-Shiller's 20-city home price index dropped 0.1% MoM in October (on an unadjusted basis) - the second monthly drop in a row and biggest drop since the Polar Vortex. Year-over-year, home prices rose 4.5% - the weakest growth since October 2012. While this modestly beat expectations (+4.5% vs +4.4% exp.), it is the 11th month in a row of growth deceleration. Also of note: the Top 20 Composite index is now down for the second month in a row, dropping to 173.36. The question now is whether the downside momentum will pick up.

 
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Mortgage Applications Tumble As Citi Warns Oil-Drop Risks Housing/Jobs Slump





Mortgage applications for home purchases fell almost 7% last week, fading recent gains and hovering once again back at 20 year-lows (entirely unable to reflect the housing 'recovery' for the average joe). The plunge in applications comes as mortgage rates crash back to 4% - the lowest in 19 months. The reason - apart from unaffordability - is explained by Citi's Will Randow who notes the spillover effects of the "unequivocally good for everyone" drop in oil prices has a dramatic effect on both jobs (prolonged price drop means a loss of ~200k jobs) and housing (starts expected to drop 100k if oil prices remain low). Maybe talking-heads should reconsider that "unequivocally good" narrative.

 
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Crude Continues Slide, Ruble Stabilizes, US Futures Rebound As Global Stocks Slump: All Eyes On Yellen





Previewing today's market: near record low liquidity, with chance of ridiculous volatility in the Ruble, energy and equity markets. While no doubt today's main event will be the "considerable" FOMC announcement and the Fed's downward-revised economic projections followed by Yellen's press conference, what traders will be most excited by is that, finally, Jim Bullard will no longer be bound by the blackout period surround FOMC decisions, and as such can hint of QE4 again at his leisure during key market inflection (i.e., selling) points.

 
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Housing Permits Tumble Most Since January, Starts Miss





There goes another pillar of the sustainable growth meme. Housing Permits tumbled 5.2% MoM - the biggest drop since January (amid the Polar Vortex) to 1.035mm SAAR. Permits dropped in all regions except the Northeast. Housing Starts dropped 1.6% MoM to 1.028mm SAAR. The South was the only region with a rise in completions as the Northeast was cut in half and both single- and multi-family residences slid.

 
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Turmoil Spreads: Ruble Replunges, Crude Craters, Yen Surges, Emerging Markets Tumbling





For those wondering if the CBR's intervention in the Russian FX market with its shocking emergency rate hike to 17% overnight calmed things, the answer is yes... for about two minutes. The USDRUB indeed tumbled nearly 10% to 59 and then promptly blew right back out, the Ruble crashing in panic selling and seemingly without any CBR market interventions, and at last check was freefalling through 72 74 76, and sending the Russian stock market plummeting by over 15%.

 
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