Economics Update

Yesterday, I talked about a historically high housing inventory, well, now we have the numbers, 4.67 million, an 11.2 month supply.

Mortgage applications are up this week, but not enough to indicate any sort of resurgence of the housing market.

We have seen an increase in orders for durable goods, but this is almost entirely export driven, which means that US consumption is flat, and if the dollar strengthens further, it’s mixed today we lose what is currently the only major driver of economic growth.

Of course, with the ECB policy makers all pointing in different directions, likely because Germany’s inflation rate is down, it’s not surprising that nothing much is moving in currency right now.

Banking is not looking good period, what with FDIC troubled bank list growing, “117 with $78 billion in assets – up from 90 banks, $26 billion in assets in 1st quarter.”

The credit markets are still frozen, with Merrill Lynch and Wachovia seeing their rates skyrocket as they attempt to rollover bonds, and Fannie Mae just sold short term debt with a spread of 89 basis points vs. US treasuries, which may be a record.

Also, the FDIC is now saying that the IndyMac failure will have a bigger price tag than earlier predicted…..Are we looking at the FDIC needing a bailout?

And it isn’t just banks having problems, personal bankruptcies are surging, with the number of filings in the 2nd quarter the highest since the 4th quarter of 2005, when people rushed to beat the new law.

In energy, oil is up on hurricane Gustav, and gasoline is down again.

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