This Week's State Of The Economy - What Is Ahead? - 22 January 2021

Date: 23 January, 2021 | By : 

U.S. - Housing Remains at the Forefront of the Recovery

  • Housing starts jumped 5.8% during December. Single-family starts soared 12%, while multifamily starts dropped 13.6%. Total starts are running at a 1.67 million-unit pace, the strongest pace since 2006. Existing home sales rose 0.7% to a 6.76 million-unit pace in December. Mortgage applications for purchase are up 14.7% over the year as of January 15.
  • The NAHB Housing Market Index fell to 83 in January. Builder confidence remains exceptionally high, but the index has slipped in recent months alongside rising material prices and the latest COVID surge. Initial jobless claims fell to 900K during the week ended January 16. Despite the drop, new filings remain elevated, which means another negative print for payrolls in January is possible.


Global - Mixed Fortunes for the Global Economy

  • This past week saw some reports showing mixed fortunes for key international economies. China reported another solid GDP increase in Q4, while for full-year 2020 GDP rose 2.3%, the only major global economy to enjoy positive growth last year. Elsewhere, Japan and Mexico appear to be experiencing a steady rather than especially strong rebound, while Eurozone PMI surveys hint at a renewed contraction across the region in late 2020 and early 2021.
  • For now, central banks are sitting on the sidelines. The European Central Bank held monetary policy steady and, with regard to its asset purchases, said that it might not use its full envelope of asset purchases, but equally that its purchase program could be re-calibrated. The Bank of Canada kept policy unchanged, though hinted at an eventual tapering in bond purchases as confidence in the economic recovery improves, while the Bank of Japan held monetary policy unchanged at its meeting this week.


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