Misc: Another Solid Manufacturing Survey, Mortgage Rates Fall, Libya Updates
• From the Kansas City Fed: Manufacturing activity matched an all-time survey high in February
The month-over-month composite index was 19 in February, up from 7 in January and 14 in December. This reading matched all-time survey highs reached several times from late 2003 to early 2005.
The production index rose to 23, its highest level since early 2006, and the shipments, new orders, and order backlog indexes also increased. The employment index jumped from 8 to 23, a ten-year high, and the new orders for exports index also edged higher.
Price indexes generally increased, or remained elevated from last month’s record high.
This follows solid reports from the NY Fed (Empire State), Philly Fed, and the Richmond Fed. The Texas survey will be released on Monday, Feb 28th, and these surveys suggest a strong reading in the ISM manufacturing survey to be released on March 1st.
• From Freddie Mac: 30-Year Fixed-Rate Mortgage Eases Just Below 5 Percent
30-year fixed-rate mortgage (FRM) averaged 4.95 percent with an average 0.6 point for the week ending February 24, 2011, down from last week when it averaged 5.0 percent. Last year at this time, the 30-year FRM averaged 5.05 percent.
• From the NY Times: Qaddafi Strikes Back as Rebels Close In on Libyan Capital
• From the WSJ: Libya Rebels Vow Offensive as Gadhafi Blames al Qaeda
• The Telegraph blog that is updated frequently: Libya protests: live
• From al Jazeera: Live Blog – Libya Feb 24
• From Jim Hamilton at Econbrowser: Libya, oil prices, and the economic outlook
[O]ne wouldn’t begin to anticipate significant effects on U.S. GDP until the price of oil got above about 0 a barrel, or until the second half of this year. … My bottom line is that events as they have unfolded so far are not in the same ballpark as the major historical oil supply disruptions, and are unlikely to produce big enough economic multipliers that they could precipitate a new economic downturn. … But the worry of course is that the big geopolitical changes we’ve been seeing didn’t stop with Tunisia, and didn’t stop with Egypt. So maybe it’s not a good idea to assume it’s all going to stop with Libya, either.
Earlier: New Home Sales
• New Home Sales decrease in January
Existing Home Sales:
• January Existing Home Sales: 5.36 million SAAR, 7.6 months of supply
• Existing Home Inventory increases 3.1% Year over Year
• Case-Shiller: National Home Prices Are Close to the 2009Q1 Trough
• Real House Prices fall to 2000 Levels, Update on NAR Overstating Sales
• House Prices: Price-to-rent, Price-to-median Household Income
Graph Galleries: New Home sales, existing home sales, House prices