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I'm in Johannesburg now and traveled overnight to get here from Cairo and we've been out in the country touring all day, so I can't spend much time on this.

Housing starts were weaker than expected, but they are still up 15% from their lows of last year. I still think we've seen the bottom in housing. Construction is so far below the level needed to keep pace with new family formations that inventories are being worked off and this will almost guarantee stronger construction activity in the years to come.

I haven't expected to see a strong recovery in housing in any event—I've been calling for a gradual increase over the next year or so—so this data looks to be consistent with that.

Source: Housing Starts: Weak, But Still Better Than '09