On the economic calendar this afternoon we have the Housing Starts in the US. The good news was that the previously reported falls in privately owned housing starts of 15.5% in December and 15.1% in November were revised down to 14.5% and 14.6% respectively. The bad news was that housing starts plummeted a further 16.8% in January. This brought the fall over the last 12 months alone to 56.2% and since the cyclical peak in January 2006 to 79.6%. At an annualised 466,000, housing starts are now at their lowest since the data was first compiled in 1959. Even if housing starts were to stabilise around this level, the three-month on three month rate of change, which fell to -31.2% in January, would still be around -30% in March. Were this to be the case, then as the chart suggests, this would point to an even larger decline in residential fixed investment spending in Q1 than the 23.6% at annualised rates seen in Q4. Everything else being equal, this would impart further negative pressure on the headline GDP figure. The consensus is looking for a comparatively modest 3.5% decline in February. For all the latest live news, live currency charts, stock charts, index charts and latest currency news, please just check these in the navigation bar above.