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Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Great Recession Roundup — June 24, 2009

Items of Interest:

CNN Money:
New home sales fall unexpectedly -- Sales ticked down 0.6% last month, down 32.8% from last year.

Sales of newly constructed homes fell unexpectedly in May and were down almost a third from last-year's levels, a government report said Wednesday.

New home sales ticked down 0.6% last month to a seasonally-adjusted annual rate of 342,000, the Commerce Department reported. That was from a revised reading of 344,000 in April.

Analysts expected the rate of new home sales to rise to 360,000, according to a consensus estimate of economists compiled by Briefing.com.

New home sales were 32.8% below the same month a year ago, when the estimate stood at a 509,000 annual rate...

"Newly constructed homes simply cannot compete with the values found in the existing home market," said Bob Walters, chief economist at Quicken Loans...

U.S. Census Department: New Residential Home Sales Report

The Big Picture: New Home Sales
Seeking Alpha: Disappointing New Home Sales Continue to Pummel Homebuilders

Calculated Risk:
New Home Sales: Record Low for May — The Census Bureau reports New Home Sales in May were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate (SAAR) of 342 thousand. This is essentially the same as the revised rate of 344 thousand in April. Click on graph for larger image in new window. The first graph shows monthly new home sales (NSA - Not Seasonally Adjusted). Note the Red columns for 2009...

[the] graph shows New Home Sales vs. recessions for the last 45 years. New Home sales have fallen off a cliff...

New Home Sales vs. recessions for the last 45 years
Calculated Risk:
Distressing Gap: Ratio of Existing to New Home Sales
FOMC statement -- Information received since the Federal Open Market Committee met in April suggests that the pace of economic contraction is slowing. Conditions in financial markets have generally improved in recent months. Household spending has shown further signs of stabilizing but remains constrained by ongoing job losses, lower housing wealth, and tight credit...
CNN Money:
Fed sees signs of hope
— The Federal Reserve kept its key interest rate near zero Wednesday, and said in a statement that although the U.S. economy remains weak, there are signs of a recovery...

Edmund / NY Times: Fed Board Maintains the Status Quo
Fed accused of "cover-up" in BofA deal-lawmaker — The Federal Reserve sought to hide its involvement in Bank of America Corp's (BAC.N) acquisition of Merrill Lynch as Merrill's financial condition worsened, the top Republican on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee said on Wednesday...
George White / Dealscape: Congress to grill Bernanke on BofA-Merrill
Bloomberg: Rep. Issa Says Fed ‘Engaged in a Cover-Up’ on Merrill-Bofa
Center for American Progress:
The Two Trillion Dollar Solution — Saving Money by Modernizing the Health Care System — Fundamental health system reform involving just three strategies will lead to federal savings of about $550 billion over the next decade …
Art Levine / The Huffington Post: Health Care Lobbyists vs. The People: The Final Showdown
pr.thinkprogress.org: Beyond The Public Option
Matthew Yglesias / Myglesias: Some Health Care Reports
Kate Phillips / The Caucus: MoveOn Hammers Feinstein on Health Care Remarks
Paul Starr / American Prospect: The Perils of a Public Healthcare Plan
Paul Krugman / NY Times: Obama messes up on health care, big time

Matthew Yglesias / Myglesias:
Baucus Regrets Not Including Single-Payer in the Health Care Mix
David M. Herszenhorn / NY Times: Baucus Grabs Pacesetter Role on Health Bill
Alex Crippen / CNBC Buffett Watch:
Warren Buffett to CNBC: U.S. Economy In “Shambles” .. No Signs of Recovery Yet -- In a live interview on CNBC today, Warren Buffett said there has been little progress over the past few months in the "economic war" being fought by the country. "We haven't got the economy moving yet," he told Becky Quick...
Matthew Vadum / AmSpecBlog: How Stupid Does Barney Frank Think Americans Are? -- Frank, who is intelligent enough to understand how the economy works, refuses to acknowledge that he played any role in the financial crisis and his prescription for what ails America is more poison.

Meanwhile, as Frank plots the final destruction of American capitalism, Warren Buffett defies the pundits and the Obama administration by saying there is no economic recovery underway...
Calculated Risk:
Report: Record Credit Card Charge-offs -- US credit card chargeoffs break new record - Moody's The U.S. monthly credit card chargeoff rate surpassed 10 percent and hit a sixth straight record high in May, Moody's Investors Services said on Wednesday ... The chargeoff rate index -- which measures credit card loans the banks do not expect to be repaid -- rose to 10.62 percent ...
Chase Credit Cards — I received a noticed in the mail that my credit card payment was going up from 180 monthly to 435. I have a very low fixed interest rate on both cards and since they couldn't raise the rate they raised the payment to 5% of the balance. I am retired and this means that I will be not be eating very much in the future...

Calculated Risk

MishTalk - Mike Shedlock

Paul Krugman - NY Times

The Big Picture - Barry Ritholtz

naked capitalism - Yves Smith

Pragmatic Capitalism

Washington's Blog

Safe Haven

Paper Economy

The Daily Reckoning - Australia