The MBA said weekly purchases fell 11.7% to the lowest level since Dec ’00 as the uncertainty over whether the home buying tax credit would be extended clearly froze activity. With it now being resumed into the spring, purchases should tick up again but we’ll get to see how much demand was pulled forward. The purchase drop also occurred while mortgage rates fell to a one month low. Refi’s benefited from that as they rose 11.3% to a 4 week high. Geithner said a strong $ is very important for the US and the global economy. He’s right but until the market sees tangible evidence of some prudent monetary and fiscal behavior in DC, the gig is up and has been in talking up the US$. South Korea left rates unchanged as expected at 2%. Australia surprised on the upside with Oct jobs gains and further confirms why the RBA has been raising rates. A Japanese official said they will keep the makeup of their reserves unchanged and thus supports a strong US$.
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