After a temporary relieve last week, US initial jobless claims surprised again on the upside of expectations. In the week ended the 18th of June, initial jobless claims rose to 429 000, from an upwardly revised 420 000, while the consensus was look-ing for a reading of 415 000. The Labour Department added that six states were es-timated due to technical problems. The less volatile four-week moving average stayed unchanged at 426 250. Continuing claims, which are reported with an extra week lag, stayed broadly unchanged in the week ended the 11th of June. Continuing claims fell only by 1 000 from an upwardly revised 3 698 000 to 3 697 000, while a decline to 3 670 000 was expected. After an encouraging downward surprise last week, this outcome brings us again back to reality: growth in the US is slow-ing. This is already translated into a worsening in labour market conditions as the claims are unable to fall back below 400 000, levels which were reached in the first quarter.
US new home sales fell for the first time in three months in May and the decline was somewhat softer than expected. In May, new home sales dropped by 2.1% M/M from an upwardly revised 326 000 to 319 000, while the consensus was looking for a drop to 310 000. The details show a mixed picture as new home sales fell sharply in the Northeast (-26.7% M/M) and dropped also in the West (-3.5% M/M), while the rose by 2.4% M/M in the South and stabilized in the Midwest. The number of new homes for sale declined by 3.5% M/M to 166 000, a new record low and months’ supply fell to 6.2. Price details show an increase in both median and average prices. While the data are somewhat better than expected, new home sales are still near record low levels as the market is facing intense competition from dis-tressed properties and therefore the market will remain depressed in the com-ing months.