Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Hope springs eternal

Now this is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning.

Winston Churchill, 1942 following the allied victory at El Alamein
There are some hopeful signs that the freefall of the economy may be ending. A few positive statistics don't make a trend, but we should appreciate hopeful news when we get it.

There have been a number of positive developments in the beleaguered housing market. Building permits, housing starts, and housing completions all rose in February relative to a month earlier. Existing and new home sales also rose modestly in February. Mortgage applications, which include new purchases and refinancing applications, also jumped 30 percent in the last week. The news is tempered by falling prices and large numbers of foreclosure sales. Also, the housing figures are generally much worse than a year ago. Nevertheless, the numbers are improvements and may indicate a bottoming out of the housing market.

Initial UI claims fell slightly in the beginning of March. The numbers still indicate rising unemployment, but if they hold up, the rate of increase would slow.

Orders for durable goods are also up, and the stock market has made up more than half the ground that it lost since the beginning of the year.

I'm not looking forward to opening my retirement or investment statements this quarter, but I might be able to do it sober.

2 comments:

Brenda Bowers said...

There have been times during this past few months when I have felt being a non-drinker was a detriment to my health! You are right things are looking up as far as our economy stands but read the small print and it will scare the beegeezes out of you. The United Nations and World Bank are advocating a worldwide currency. I believe it was one of the first Rothchild's who said something about 'let me control the money and I care not who makes the laws'. BB

Dave Ribar said...

Brenda:

A new "reserve" currency won't get off the ground without near universal support. There is a U.N. panel recommending it, with Russia and China cheering them along. However, the U.S. doesn't support it.

To be precise, the U.N. panel is recommending a NEW reserve currency; the U.S. dollar currently plays that role.