Another weak sign from the US housing market as pending home sales fell sharply in April, while the consensus was looking for only a small decline. On a monthly basis, pending home sales fell by 11.6% M/M and also the previous figure was downwardly revised (from 5.1% M/M to 3.5% M/M). The details show that sales dropped sharply in the South (-17.2% M/M), Midwest (-10.4% M/M) and West (-8.9% M/M), while they rose slightly in the Northeast (1.7% M/M). As the decline was led by the South, the bad weather surely had an impact. Nevertheless, this outcome provides only further evidence that the US housing market remains depressed. While we were hoping to see a boost from the spring selling season, it looks as if our hopes were too optimistic.
The final figure of May University of Michigan consumer confidence showed an upward revision from the first estimate, which was already stronger than expected. The final figure showed an upward adjustment from 72.4 to 74.3, while no revision was expected. Looking at the details, both the economic conditions (81.9 from 80.2) and economic outlook (69.5 from 67.4) sub-index were upwardly revised. The improvement in consumer sentiment was probably due to the lower oil price as inflation expectations were sharply downwardly adjusted from the preliminary estimate. Nevertheless, the weak data of recent, which suggest that the US recovery is slowing, raise expectations that consumer confidence might weaken again in coming months.