Economic news out of the U.S. today showed that durable goods orders declined more than forecasted and decreased for the sixth month in a row in January. Durable goods orders in the United States fell 5.2 percent in January to a total of $163.8 billion according to news released by the U.S. Commerce Department today. January’s total was $5.2 billion less than December’s total which saw a revised decrease of 4.6 percent from November.
Durable goods are products manufactured in the U.S. and generally considered to last more than three years. Market forecasts had been expecting that durable goods orders would decrease by approximately 2.5 percent for the month.
New orders for durable goods excluding transportation fell by 2.5 percent in January following a revised decrease of 5.5 percent in December. Market forecasts were predicting a decrease of 2.2 percent.
January’s results for shipments of durable goods decreased by 3.7 percent and fell for the sixth straight month. Unfilled orders decreased 1.9 percent in the month while durable good inventories decreased 0.8 percent after sixteen straight months of increases. January nondefense orders for new goods fell by 2.7 percent while defense orders for capital goods decreased by 35.3 percent.
U.S. New Home Sales fall to record low in January.
New Home Sales in the United States declined in the month of January to stand at the lowest level on record according to data released by the Department of Commerce today. Purchases of new single family homes fell to an annual rate of 309,000 in January, a 10.2 percent drop from December. January’s annual rate of new homes sold is 48.2 percent lower than the that of January 2008 and marked the lowest annual sales rate since the beginning of the report first released in 1963.
January’s results were worse than market forecasts which were expecting an annual rate of 324,000 new sales and a monthly decline by 2.1 percent. The median sales price of new homes in January fell by 13.5 percent to $201,100 while the average sales price was $234,600.
Weekly Jobless Claims rise.
A separate government release by the U.S. Labor Department showed that weekly initial U.S. jobless claims increased in the week that ended on February 21st to its highest level since 1982. New jobless claims grew to a total of 667,000 unemployed workers, an increase over the prior week by 36,000 workers. A 4-week moving average of newly unemployed workers rose by 19,000 from the prior week to a total of 639,000.
Workers seeking continued unemployment benefits increased to the highest level on record since the report began in 1967. Continuing jobless claims grew by 114,000 workers to a total of 5,112,000 unemployed workers for the week ending on February 14th. The four week moving average of continuing claims grew by 89,250 to a total of 4,932,250 unemployed workers.
US Dollar mixed in forex trading today.
The U.S. dollar has been mixed in forex trading today against the major currencies after making strong moves in yesterday’s trading. The dollar has gained versus the Australian dollar, Japanese yen and New Zealand dollar while falling against the British pound, Canadian dollar and Swiss franc.
The dollar is virtually unchanged against the euro at time of writing as the EUR/USD trades at 1.2738 in the afternoon of the US trading session at 4:09pm EST after opening the day at 1.2735 according to currency data from Oanda.
The British pound has increased today versus the American currency as the GBP/USD has gained from 1.4246 to trading at 1.4305 dollars per pound. The dollar has advanced against the Japanese yen today as the USD/JPY has gained from its 97.84 opening to trading at 98.33.
The dollar has declined against the Canadian dollar after opening at 1.2545 earlier today to trading at 1.2520 later. Meanwhile, the USD has also declined against the Swiss franc from 1.1699 to trading at 1.1648.
The Australian dollar has lost ground versus the USD as the AUD/USD trades at 0.6489 after opening today at 0.6501 while the New Zealand dollar has also fallen versus the USD and trades at 0.5081 after opening at 0.5112.
USD/JPY Chart – The US Dollar advances today versus the Japanese Yen and looks to be on its way to 100 yen per dollar for the first time since November.