U.S. Dollar Flat Against Euro, Yen Amid Housing Worries
The U.S. dollar was largely flat against the euro and yen Monday, erasing earlier gains, after a government report showed sales of new homes fell to a seven-year low in February.
The euro was trading at about $1.3331 against the dollar, after falling earlier in the session. The yen was trading at about 118.05.
Sales of new homes unexpectedly tumbled 3.9% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 848,000, the lowest since June 2000, the Commerce Department said. Economists had expected a 6.7% increase. Inventories of unsold homes rose 1.5% to 546,000, representing an 8.1-month supply, the largest in 16 years. Inventory is up 26.6% in the past 12 months.
The report comes after Friday's surprisingly strong existing home sales data, which had boosted the dollar.
The greenback was badly battered last week, as the euro surpassed a two-year high of $1.3485 -- not far from its all-time high of $1.3667 set in December 2004. But the U.S. currency climbed back slightly after the National Association of Realtors reported Friday that sales of existing homes rose by 3.9% in February, pushed higher by mild winter weather in the northeastern U.S. It was the largest one-month gain in nearly three years.
The new home sales data is the latest sign that the housing market is still in the middle of a correction, as troubles mount in the mortgage lending market.