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2) Sales of new single-family homes in the United States declined last month, but prices continue to receive support from low inventory levels.
According to new data released by the Commerce Department, home sales in December dropped 7.3 percent to a seasonally adjusted 369,000-unit annual rate. It was the biggest monthly drop in almost two years and well below expectations of 385,000. In comparison, sales in November were revised 21,000 units higher to a 398,000-unit annual rate… (Read more.)
3) Towards the end of last year, the Federal Reserve announced not one, but two quantitative easing programs. These two new rounds of money printing have now officially pushed the central bank’s balance sheet to a new trillion dollar level.
According to the latest statistical release, the Federal Reserve’s total assets increased $47.9 billion in the past week to hit $3.01 trillion, a fresh all-time record. Holdings of U.S. Treasury securities rose $7.8 billion to $1.697 trillion, while mortgage-backed securities in the portfolio jumped $35.6 billion to $983.17 billion. In comparison, the central bank reported total assets of $926.6 billion in the beginning of 2008, before four rounds of quantitative easing… (Read more.)
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