EU leaders reach €1.8 trillion deal on recovery plan. EU leaders agreed early on Tuesday to an unprecedented €1.8 trillion aid and budget deal aimed at helping hard-hit members of the bloc to recover from the economic fallout of the coronavirus pandemic. The package includes a €750 billion fund to be sent as loans and grants, as well as a seven-year €1 trillion EU budget. The historic deal is viewed by many economists as good news for the European economy. The package marks a precedent for common debt borrowing at the EU level, something that many countries, including Germany, opposed for a long time. But this resistance had softened in the wake of the covid-19 crisis.
German consumer confidence strengthens as shoppers head into August. German shoppers are digging deeper into their pockets as they head into August, a closely-watch survey said on Thursday, crediting the government’s coronavirus stimulus efforts with lifting spirits. The GfK institute’s forward-looking measure climbed to -0.3 points, the third monthly increase in a row and a large jump on July’s figure of -9.4. The expected reading was -5.0. Consumer confidence has been rising steadily since Europe’s largest economy emerged from lockdown in May and is fast catching up with pre-pandemic levels. “German consumers are leaving the corona shock from the spring of this year more and more behind,” GfK said in a statement. The government’s July to December reduction in value added tax as well as the prospect of a €300-euro bonus per child later this year have encouraged Germans to open their wallets, they said.
Rightmove reports post lockdown surge in UK house prices. UK house prices rose in July suggesting that the market is gathering momentum, property website Rightmove said on Monday. The average asking price of homes rose by 2.4 percent in July from the March pre-lockdown period, to stand at £312,625. On an annual basis, asking prices increased by 3.7 percent. This was the highest increase since December 2016. "These figures are the earliest indicator of house price trends," Rightmove Director Miles Shipside said. They show on average prices gently rising not falling, and this will be reflected in the coming months in other house price reports.
US existing home sales rebounded at record pace in June. After reporting three consecutive months of decline, the US housing market is staging a recovery amid the pandemic, shrugging off high unemployment and a rising number of infections as buyers with pent-up demand seize on record-low mortgage rates. The National Association of Realtors reported on Wednesday that sales of existing homes spiked by 20.7 percent to an annual rate of 4.72 million in June after plunging by 9.7 percent to a rate of 3.91 million in May. Economists had expected sales to skyrocket by about 24.5 percent. But despite the substantial monthly rebound, NAR noted that existing home sales in June were 11.3 percent below their level the same month a year ago.