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The annual level of US existing home sales stands at 4.87 million in December. This is actually a rise from the revised 4.82 million in November. They were expected to climb to 4.94 million in December after 4.90 in November (before revisions).

The US dollar was on the defensive before the release: EUR/USD was trading on the high ground of 1.3650 after enjoying strong PMIs, GBP/USD traded above 1.66 and USD/JPY fell below 1.04 to 103.60. The dollar is slightly lower after the publication.

Most of the transactions in the housing market are for existing (second hand) homes, rather than of new homes. The housing sector led the recovery, but there were fears that it may have run out of steam.

In addition, the  CB Leading Index was published and was forecast to show a gain of 0.2%. Also here, we see a disappointment with a rise of only 0.1%.

Earlier, US jobless claims were released, and they came out at 326K, slightly better than 331K expected. However, Markit’s flash manufacturing PMI for January disappointed by dropping from 54.4 to 53.7 points, below expectations.

All in all, the Fed seems to be on course for another taper in January.