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SPI Management Newsletter 23.12.2022

United States home sales experience a record 10-month decline

The National Association of Realtors reported Wednesday that sales of previously owned houses fell 7.7% from the previous month to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.09 million, the lowest pace since May 2020. From November of last year, sales dropped 35.4%. According to data dating back to 1999, this decline-only trend is the longest ever observed.

A significant way that the Federal Reserve's aggressive interest rate increases are affecting the economy is the severe downturn in the housing market this year. Seven rate increases have been made by the central bank this year, including the most recent one last week, in an effort to lower the high inflation rate by reducing hiring, spending, and investment.

According to a separate report released on Wednesday by the Conference Board, a private research organization, easing inflation pressures and a robust labor market contributed to the strong increase in U.S. consumer confidence this month, which reached its best level since April. Its consumer-confidence index increased from a revised 101.4 in November to 108.3 in December.

Fed representatives hinted last week that they intend to maintain raising interest rates in order to slow down the economy and lower excessive inflation. The housing market has to be stabilized as weaker home sales reduce spending on related items like gardening, furnishings, and improvements.

According to data released this week by the Commerce Department, retail sales in the United States declined in November at establishments that offer furniture, home furnishings, electronics, appliances, building supplies, and garden tools and supplies.

Since the G-7 Sanctions started, Russia's Oil Exports Have Plummeted

During the first complete week of Group of Seven sanctions aimed at Moscow's oil exports, seaborne Russian crude shipments fell. A portion of the decline was exacerbated by now-completed construction at a Baltic port, but there also seemed to be a shortage of ship owners prepared to transport vital cargo from an export plant in Asia. Other ports also displayed weekly decreases. Because weekly flows are dependent on the time of cargo schedule, the weather, and even the caliber of signals that the vessels themselves transmit, the data must be handled carefully.

Total volumes exported from the country decreased by 1.86 million barrels per day, or 54%, to 1.6 million in the first full week following the EU embargo on seaborne Russian oil imports. A less erratic four-week average also fell, reaching a new yearly low. With the work being finished, Baltic Sea volumes should return, but it might take longer to resolve the problems in the East.

The restriction and the corresponding price cap made it challenging for shippers to transport petroleum from the Black Sea to the Mediterranean since Turkey required particular insurance confirmation before allowing ships to pass through the Bosphorus and Dardanelles.

Adapted from WSJ, CNBC, FT, Bloomberg, NYT

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