Today's U.S. reports
Today's U.S. reports revealed a welcome 1.9% November existing home sales rise that marks a second monthly increase, after an ugly Q3 for the housing sector. The November rise to a 5.32 M clip overcame a 6.3% drop in the West that likely reflected the impact of the California fires, following hurricane disruptions for sales in the South in September and October. The median home price bucked seasonal weakness with a 1.0% rise to $257,700, leaving a 4.2% y/y gain, while the inventory of homes fell 5.9% to just 1.74 M. The current account widened by slightly more than expected to $124.8 in Q3, with an export drop after a Q2 surge that reflected export "front running" in advance of tariffs, alongside steady import growth. The current account gap has been on a gradual widening path since 2015, though deterioration is being capped in this cycle by the dramatic drop in the petroleum deficit. Analysts expect a $123 B current account gap in Q4, and a 2018 deficit of $471 B, versus an $806 B record-high gap in 2006.