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US sales of new homes jump 9.6 per cent in January to fastest pace in more than 5 years

WASHINGTON - U.S. sales of new homes rebounded in January to the fastest pace in more than five years, offering hopes that housing could be regaining momentum after a slowdown last year caused by rising interest rates. Sales of new homes increased 9.6 per cent in January to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 468,000, the Commerce Department reported Wednesday. That was the fastest pace since July 2008.

Corporate lending growth slows in Q4

SEOUL, Feb. 26 (Yonhap) -- South Korean financial firms' corporate loans grew by the smallest amount in one year in the fourth quarter of last year as demand from manufacturers and builders declined, the central bank said Wednesday. Corporate lending by banks and non-bank institutions stood at 827.8 trillion won (US$771.5 billion) as of end-December, up 2.1 trillion won from three months earlier, according to the Bank of Korea (BOK). The fourth-quarter data marked the smallest increase since the fourth quarter of 2012 when such lending declined by 7.8 trillion won.

S. Korea's household credit hits record high in Q4

SEOUL, Feb. 25 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's household credit rose to a fresh high in the fourth quarter, with its growth accelerating from three months earlier on a sharp rise in mortgage lending, the central bank said Tuesday. Household credit totaled 1,021 trillion won (US$954 billion) as of end-December, up 27.7 trillion won from three months earlier, according to the Bank of Korea (BOK). Household credit refers to credit purchases and loans for households that have been extended by financial institutions, including commercial lenders and mutual savings banks.

S. Korea's household credit hits record high in Q4

SEOUL, Feb. 25 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's household credit rose to a fresh high in the fourth quarter, with its growth accelerating from three months earlier on a sharp rise in mortgage lending, the central bank said Tuesday. Household credit totaled 1,021 trillion won (US$954 billion) as of end-December, up 27.7 trillion won from three months earlier, according to the Bank of Korea (BOK). Household credit refers to credit purchases and loans for households that have been extended by financial institutions, including commercial lenders and mutual savings banks.

Fannie Mae profits push taxpayers into black on housing bailout

By Margaret Chadbourn WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Fannie Mae said on Friday it would soon send the U.S. Treasury $7.2 billion, a profit-related dividend that makes taxpayers whole for the 2008 bailout of the mortgage-financing giant and its sibling company Freddie Mac. Unlike other companies rescued by taxpayers during the financial crisis, however, the firms will remain under government control until Congress winds them down or replaces them.

Investors park money at short-term funds

SEOUL, Feb. 18 (Yonhap) -- South Korean investors are pouring more money into short-term investment vehicles this year as they find few viable destinations to park their money amid low interest rates and volatile market conditions, data showed Tuesday. The net asset value of money market funds (MMFs) stood at 84.9 trillion won (US$80 billion) as of Friday, compared with 73.2 trillion won at the end of last month, according to the data compiled by the Korea Financial Investment Association (KOFIA).

Money fund assets increase $8 billion to $2.713 trillion for the week

NEW YORK, N.Y. - Total U.S. money market mutual fund assets rose $8 billion to $2.713 trillion for the week that ended Wednesday, according to the Investment Company Institute. Assets in the nation's retail money market mutual funds fell $110 million to $922.6 billion, the Washington-based mutual fund trade group said Thursday. Assets of taxable money market funds in the retail category rose $680 million to $727.6 billion. Tax-exempt retail fund assets fell $790 million to $195 billion.

Banks' household loans decline in Jan.

SEOUL, Feb. 12 (Yonhap) -- Household loans extended by South Korean banks declined in January as households' balance sheets improved on the back of year-end bonuses, and mortgage lending also fell, the central bank said Wednesday. Outstanding household loans by local banks, including home-backed and credit loans, reached 477.8 trillion won (US$448 billion) as of end-January, down 2.6 trillion won from the previous month, according to the Bank of Korea (BOK). The January figure also compares with the 2.9-trillion-won growth in December, the data showed.

Morgan Stanley agrees to $1.3B settlement over mortgage securities sold to Fannie, Freddie

Morgan Stanley says it has agreed to pay $1.25 billion to resolve a lawsuit over mortgage securities with the Federal Housing Finance Agency, the regulator that oversees Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. In 2011 the government sued 18 financial firms for selling Fannie and Freddie $196 billion in mortgage securities that turned toxic when the housing market collapsed. Other banks have also settled with the FHFA. In October, J.P. Morgan Chase said it would pay $5.1 billion and Deutsche Bank reached a $1.92 billion settlement in December.

Signed contracts to buy US homes plunge 8.7 per cent last month, evidence of housing slowdown

WASHINGTON - Fewer Americans signed contracts to buy previously occupied homes in December, suggesting a slowdown in real estate. Pending home sales fell to the lowest point since October 2011. The National Association of Realtors said its seasonally adjusted pending home sales index dropped 8.7 per cent last month to 92.4. That's the seventh straight monthly decline for the index, which previews upcoming sales. A one- to two-month lag usually exists between a signed contract and a completed sale.
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