• 2019-08-21 11:20

    By Alexandra Kelley

    WASHINGTON (MNI) - The pace of existing home sales rose by 2.5% to a 5.42 million annual rate in July, the National Association of Realtors said Wednesday, landing above the 5.40 million forecast by an MNI survey of analysts.

    NAR chief economist Lawrence Yun attributed the uptick to exceptionally low mortgage rates and a healthy labor market, but warned that recession fears may scare off potential buyers.

    "Generally, low rates stimulate buying activity, the jobs market remains strong, but there's increasing economic uncertainty. Given that home buying is a major expenditure, people may be hesitant to buy homes if they believe we're facing an economic recession," he told reporters.

  • 2019-08-21 04:37

    By Les Commons and Irene Prihoda

    LONDON (MNI) - UK government finances received a modest boost in July, with a surplus of stg1.132 billion, although that was lower than the near stg3.6 billion surplus seen in July 2018.

    The following are the key points from public sector finance data published Wednesday by the Office for National Statistics.

    - Year-to-date borrowing stood at stg16.0 billion in July, up 60% on the stg10.0 billion YTD in July 2018. It was the biggest July YTD percentage gain since July 2009/10. July 2018 was the highest July surplus seen since 2002.

  • 2019-08-18 21:46

    TOKYO (MNI) - Kazushige Kamiyama, a former representative of the Bank of Japan's New York branch, has been promoted as the bank's chief economist and director-general of the BOJ Research and Statistics Department, effective immediately.

    The Bank of Japan announced the appointment on Monday, along with that of Toshitaka Sekine, the former chief economist, who has been appointed as the head of the Institute for Monetary and Economic Studies, the BOJ thinktank.

    --MNI Tokyo Bureau; tel: +81 90-2175-0040; email:
    --MNI Sydney Bureau; +61 405322399; email:

    [TOPICS: MAJDS$,MMJBJ$,M$A$$$,M$J$$$]

  • 2019-08-15 11:27

    By Greg Quinn

    OTTAWA (MNI) - Vancouver home sales rose the most since 1993 in July as average prices fell below the million-dollar mark, based on data released by the Canadian Real Estate Association Thursday

    Sales rose 26.4% from June in the west coast city, according to the data. The average price fell to C$967,314 in July from C$1.02 million a year earlier, or by 5.6% -- still by far the highest among major Canadian cities.

    The sales jump echoes the housing boom in Vancouver and Toronto that led policy makers to toughen mortgage qualification rules and impose taxes aimed at curbing speculative purchases. Buyers are coming back as they adjust to last year's mortgage rule change that hit those hot cities the hardest.

  • 2019-08-15 04:30

    By Laurie Laird, Les Commons and Irene Prihoda

    LONDON (MNI) - UK consumers appeared undaunted by Brexit uncertainty through July, as retail sales far outpaced expectations.

    The following are the key points from retail sales data published Thursday by the Office for National Statistics.

    - British consumers continued to splash out in July, countering corporate caution ahead of Brexit, providing arguably the only ray of light in a slowing economy.

    - Retail sales rose by a modest 0.2% in July, confounding forecasts of a 0.2% decline.

  • 2019-08-14 07:00

    WASHINGTON (MNI) - The Mortgage Bankers Association Wednesday reported a second straight surge in mortgage activity in the August 9 week, with activity up 21.7% as mortgage rates decreased further.

    Here are some of the key features of the report:

    - The Refinance Index rose by 37% to the highest level since 2016, while the purchases index increased by 2%. It was still up 12% year/year before seasonal adjustment.

    - The 30-year average rate for a 30-year fixed mortgage fell to 3.93% in the current week from 4.01% in the previous week, hitting its lowest point since November 2016 due to continued concerns about an escalated trade war and global economic concerns, the MBA said.

  • 2019-08-14 06:31

    BEIJING (MNI) - China faces increased economic downward pressure, as all July macroeconomic indicators came in below market expectations, coming down from the one-off strong performance in June.

    Liu Aihua, the spokeswoman of the National Bureau of Statistics, insisted at a Wednesday briefing monthly fluctuations are common, and the countercyclical policies taken are having an effect.


    Retail sales grew by 7.6% y/y, falling sharply from June's 16-month high of 9.8%, and missed the 8.5% forecast polled by MNI. This is the lowest level in three months since April's 16-year low of 7.2%.

    The deceleration was mainly caused by the contraction of car sales, which reversed June's 17.2% y/y gain and fell 2.6% in July.

  • 2019-08-12 21:15

    TOKYO (MNI) - Japan's corporate goods price index posted a second straight year-on-year drop in July, with the index falling to the lowest level since December 2016 when it was down 1.2% on year, data released by the Bank of Japan Tuesday showed.

    June's -0.1% was the first year-on-year drop in 30 months.

    A BOJ official said that the underlying trend of CGPI hasn't changed, although the index continues to be influenced by fluctuation of international commodity prices caused by the trade friction between the U.S. and China.

    He added that weak consumer goods prices (-1.6% on year in July vs.

  • 2019-08-09 04:55

    By Laurie Laird and Irene Prihoda

    LONDON (MNI) - The UK economy recorded its first contraction since the final quarter of 2012, roiled by Brexit-related distortions.

    The following are the key points from UK Q2 GDP data published Friday by the Office for National Statistics.

    -- GDP slumped by 0.2% in Q2, falling far short of analysts' expectations and predictions by Bank of England staff. The economy last contracted in Q4 2012, then a hangover from elevated activity during the London Olympics in the previous quarter.

    -- A 2.3% plunge in manufacturing erased 0.23 percentage points from Q2 growth, courtesy of a 5.2% slump in transport equipment over the quarter.

  • 2019-08-08 20:24

    --Japan Q2 Real GDP +0.4% Q/Q; MNI Median +0.1%
    --Japan Q2 Real GDP +1.8% Annualized; MNI Median +0.5%
    --Japan Q2 GDP Posts 3rd Straight Rise
    --Japan Q2 Domestic Demand Contribution +0.7 PP
    --Japan Q2 Net Export Contribution -0.3 PP
    --Japan Q2 Public Investment +1.0% Q/Q, +0.0 Point Contribution
    --Japan Q1 Real GDP Revised to +0.7% Q/Q, +2.8% Annualized

    TOKYO (MNI) - Japan's economy posted a third straight quarter growth in the April-June period, up 0.4% q/q, or an annualized +1.8%, boosted by stronger private consumption and capital investment, preliminary GDP data released Friday by the Cabinet Office showed.

    Growth slowed slightly from Q1, which rose a revised 0.7% q/q, or an annualized 2.8%.