Speaking today, Federal Reserve Governor Elizabeth Duke produced some doleful figures about the current state of the US housing market. She noted that 25% of sub-prime loans, and 13% of near-prime loans, are now "seriously delinquent" - either 90 days overdue, or in foreclosure. The serious delinquency rate for prime mortgages is now over 3%, having doubled during the past year.
As a result, foreclosures have also doubled since 2006, to 2.25m. Last week's sales even included the boyhood home of Fed Chairman, Ben Bernanke, sold for just $83k. This sombre background make it clear why chemicals demand into the important housing market remains so slow.