The look ahead: Indicators on US housing and UK industry, US update on IFRS

Data on the US housing picture and British manufacturing top next week’s economic news agenda. Meanwhile, the US Securities and Exchange Commission’s chief accountant will be in London to give an update on the US’s potential adoption of IFRS.

More signs of US housing recovery?
The US National Association of Realtors issues its monthly look at existing home sales next week – a report that will set the stage for the US Census Bureau’s report on sales of new homes.

Such data are seen as a broad indicator of economic momentum, and US homebuilders have been increasingly optimistic. This week, the National Association of Home Builders said builder sentiment had risen to its highest level since 2007.

That makes sense, considering what the Realtors association reported last month: In December, the availability of previously-owned homes was at the lowest level since March 2005.

“The pattern of home sales in recent months demonstrates a market in recovery,” Lawrence Yun, NAR’s chief economist, says. “Record low mortgage interest rates, job growth and bargain home prices are giving more consumers the confidence they need to enter the market.”

The existing home sales report is to be released Wednesday 10 a.m. EST on NAR’s website. The new home sales report follows at 10 a.m. EST on February 24th on the Census website.

British manufacturing
Economists will look for continued signs of manufacturing strength in the UK on Thursday, when the CBI Industrial Trends Survey for January is released.

The Confederation of British Industry’s survey of manufacturing executives indicated that factory orders declined at a slower rate during January. “The crisis in the Eurozone is still hanging over the UK, threatening future growth,” John Cridland, CBI Director-General, said in a statement last month. “… Nevertheless, within this survey there are some tentative signs that things could improve somewhat in the coming quarter.”

Among the signs, he said: “The US recovery has been better than expected.”

The report is to be released at the CBI’s website.

IFRS update
The US Securities and Exchange Commission’s chief accountant, James Kroeker, is scheduled to speak before the IFRS Advisory Council on Monday and is expected to provide an update on the US’s potential adoption of IFRS. A decision is expected this year, and executives and investors are likely to be watching closely for clues.