Builders in US most confident since mid-2006

 
Ben Southwood
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CONFIDENCE among US builders continued to rise into October, figures revealed yesterday, just as new data put September industrial output growth above expectations.

Confidence hit an index score of 41 in October, the National Association of Home Builders said, up from 40 in September to a six-year high. But the index, released jointly with Wells Fargo, remained below the 50 level that indicates neutral expectations, a level it has not been above since April 2006.

This came as industrial production beat expectations by growing 0.4 per cent in September, according to Federal Reserve data, after the 1.4 per cent slide into August. Mining output grew 0.9 per cent, utilities output was up 1.5 per cent, and manufacturers produced 0.2 per cent more, compared to the previous month.

One worry was a surge in prices – the consumer price index grew 0.6 per cent in September – driven up by a seven per cent jump in petrol prices, Labor Department data showed.

This put prices two per cent higher than they were a year earlier.