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The National Association of Realtors’ (NAR) Pending Home Sales Index, which tracks the number of homes that are under contract to be sold, fell 2.2% in November to 122.4, a reversal from October’s 7.5% increase. Home-buying activity continued to show signs of moderation as the year over year pending sales figures were down 2.7%. Month over month pending home sales declined in all four regions – signings dropped in the Midwest (-6.3% to 116.8), followed by the West (-2.2% to 105.5), the South (-0.7% to 148.2), and the Northeast (-0.1% to 99.4). Year over year figures were mixed with only the Midwest (+0.2%) reporting an increase, the Northeast (-8.5%), West (-4.6%), South (-1.3%), and Midwest (-0.2%) all reported declines. Lawrence Yun, NAR’s chief economist said “While I expect neither a price reduction nor another year of record-pace price gains, the market will see more inventory in 2022 and that will help some consumers with affordability.” Yun also noted that housing demand is still strong, adding that homes placed on the market for sale go from “listed status” to “under contract” in approximately 18 days.
The US Energy Information Administration reported that US commercial crude oil stockpiles decreased by 3.6M barrels to 420.0M barrels (7% below the five-year average) for the week ending December 24th. Crude oil refinery inputs averaged 15.7M barrels per day, a decrease of 115K barrels per day as compared to the previous week’s average. Gasoline inventories decreased by 1.5M barrels (6% below the five-year average,) while distillate inventories fell by 1.7M barrels (11.4% below the five-year average). Refineries operated at 89.7% of their operable capacity, as gasoline production increased an average of 10.1M barrels per day, and distillate fuel production increased an averaging 4.9M barrels per day. Crude oil imports came in at 6.8M barrels per day, an increase of 0.6M barrels per day as compared to the previous week. Crude oil imports averaged about 6.5M barrels per day over the last four weeks, 13.7% more than the same period last year. Total commercial petroleum inventories decreased by 18.9M barrels last week.
The Labor Department reported a decrease in initial jobless claims for the week ending December 25. The seasonally adjusted initial claims came in at 198,000, a decrease of 8,000 from the previous week’s upwardly revised level. The four-week moving average, which smooths out volatility was 199,250 a decrease of 7,250 from the previous week’s revised average, this is the lowest average since October 1969. For the week ending December 18, the insured unemployment rate was 1.3%. The total number of unemployment claims for the week ending December 18 reported in at 1.716M down 140,000 from the previous week’s downwardly revised level. The continuing claims 4-week moving average was 1.715M, a decrease of 140,000 from the previous week, this is the lowest average since March 2020. According to the unadjusted data for the week ending December 18 – Missouri (-5,549), Pennsylvania (-4,520), Kentucky (-1,915), Georgia (-1,699), and Illinois (-1,321) all saw decreases in initial claims. Oklahoma (+947), Michigan (+841), Washington (+803), Alabama (+732), and Arkansas (+731) all saw increases. For the week ending December 11th, 2.17M people were receiving jobless benefits through state or federal programs, a decrease of 39,363 from the previous week’s upwardly revised level. There were some 20.4M weekly claims filed for the comparable week in 2020.
Tuesday January 4 – JOLTs Job Openings (November)
Friday January 7 – Unemployment Rate (December)
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