The Journal Gazette
Thursday, January 20, 2022 1:00 am


No slowdown on horizon for homebuilders

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Construction of new homes in the United States rose for the third consecutive month in December and data released Wednesday suggests the frantic pace of building will continue.

The December increase puts home construction at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.7 million units, the Commerce Department reported Wednesday. Nearly 1.6 million housing units were started in 2021, up 15.6% from 2020.

Building permit applications, which can forecast future building activity, rose 9.1% to a seasonally adjusted rate of 1.87 million units.

Regionally, housing starts in the Northeast and Midwest rose more than 20% and 36%, propping up declines in the South and West.

Foreign steel taxes could go away soon

The United States and the United Kingdom have agreed to begin talks on removing former President Donald Trump's 25% import tax on foreign steel and 10% on aluminum instituted in 2018.

In a joint statement Wednesday, U.S. Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo, U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai and U.K. Trade Minister Anne-Marie Tevelyan said they would be working toward a swift deal that ensures the viability of the steel and aluminum industries in both countries.

Markets fall

Stocks closed broadly lower on Wall Street on Wednesday and deepened the weekly losses for major indexes following another choppy day of trading. The S&P 500 fell 44.35 points, or 1%, to 4,532.76, with 77% of stocks in the benchmark index losing ground.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 339.82, or 1.2%, to 35,028.65. The tech-heavy Nasdaq fell 166.64, or 1.1%, to 14,340.26. The index is now more than 10% below the all-time high it set on Nov. 19, a fall commonly considered a correction.

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