This headline caught my eye in today’s Peninsula:
US HOUSING SECTOR LOOKS UP
Why did it catch my eye? I know, I know, I am an unnatural woman. I shouldn’t bother my pretty little head with these things too great for me, but I find the financial pages interesting. You would be amazed at what you can learn in the small print.
So when I saw that headline, I was intrigued, because yesterday the reports coming out remained bleak. Key phrases like “less than expected” jumped out at me.
So here is my challenge to you. Please. Read through this article and tell me if you can find one single fact that supports the promising headline. Honestly, this gave me one of my best laughs of the day.
Get ready. Get set. GO!
US housing sector looks up
Web posted at: 10/21/2009 8:50:58
Source ::: REUTERS
WASHINGTON: New construction of US homes rose less than expected in September as ground-breaking activity for multi-family dwellings fell sharply, highlighting the economy’s uneven recovery path.
The Commerce Department said on Tuesday housing starts rose 0.5 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 590,000 units, below market expectations for 610,000. August’s housing starts were revised down to 587,000 units.
A separate report from the Labor Department showed producer prices dropped an unexpected 0.6 percent in September. Analysts had anticipated prices would remain unchanged after rising 1.7 percent in August.
“The housing numbers still look somewhat soft and that’s a reflection of weakness in the consumer. The low PPI numbers mean that the Fed is in a position to keep rates unchanged for a while,” said Subodh Kumar, chief investment strategist at Subodh Kumar & Associates in Toronto.
US stock futures, which were lifted earlier after strong quarterly results from bellwethers Apple and Caterpillar, trimmed their gains on the soft housing and price data.
New construction activity in the volatile multifamily segment dropped 15.2 percent to an annual pace of 89,000 units. Groundbreaking for single-family homes, the largest component of the housing market, rose 3.9 percent in September to an annual rate of 501,000 units.
Compared to September last year, housing starts were down 28.2 percent.
The housing market, the main catalyst of the worst US recession since the 1930s, is crawling out of a three-year slump and residential investment probably contributed to economic growth in the third quarter, according to analysts.
New building permits, which give a sense of future home construction, unexpectedly fell 1.2 percent to an annual pace of 573,000 units in September, the Commerce Department said. That was the biggest percentage decline since April.
Analysts had forecast permits at 600,000 units. Building permits were down 28.9 percent compared to September last year.
A survey on Monday showed confidence among US home builders edged down in October amid worries over the expiration of a $8,000 government tax credit for first-time buyers.
The incentive, which ends next month, has been widely cited as the main force behind the housing market’s steady recovery.
Separately, prices paid at the farm and factory gate fell 4.8 percent on the year, which was steeper than forecasts for a 4.2 percent drop. Excluding food and energy, prices declined by 0.1 percent in September from the prior month, and were up 1.8 percent on the year.
“The headline PPI numbers fuel the deflationary fears,” said Doug Bender, managing director at McQueen, Ball & Associates in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.
One of the things my friend and I were seeking on our Souk Quest was mermaid fabric. My friend has a grand daughter who loves to be The Little Mermaid, and I knew that the exact right fabric existed in the souk, I had seen it and didn’t have any excuse to buy it.
We found it. It is perfect – sea green, and shiny scales:
Doha is full of wonderful fabrics for dress-up.
Leaving the Suq al Waqif, we got a shock – where you could once go straight ahead onto Al Rayyan, you can’t!
There is a left turn, a shaky bridge, and then you can go right to access Al Rayyan. It all appears temporary, and when the fix is accomplished, it will probably be a better intersection.
But this is Doha. When you think you know the route, suddenly, and often without notice, your traffic pattern makes a sudden change. The temporary diversion may last for weeks, or months, or . . .
I’m a map person, I remember once discovering that the road I intended to take, the road on the map, wasn’t there yet! In Doha, a map is only an overview, it is not reality based, the roads you see may or may not be open. In the end, I am sure there is going to be a smooth traffic pattern, but oh, in the meantime!
This is a relatively small change, with a relatively easy fix.
The fires in the souks between Souk al Dira’a and Souk al Asseiri caused a serious drop in customer traffic to an area already hard hit by the current economic situation world-wide. While Qatar claims to be relatively untouched, there are small signs that non-Qatteris living in Qatar are touched, indeed – expats losing jobs, expats going home, and expats not spending a lot of money because they do not feel secure about tomorrow.
We only had to drive around the long block three times before we found a parking spot. Pretty amazing, huh?
I wanted to see how badly the Dar al Thaqafa had been hurt. There was a fire truck nearby, and the fireman said that there had been a smoldering spot. It smelled like a campfire.
Here are some shots of how the area looks today: