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US Home Prices Fall; Trade Deficit Worsens



A business group says U.S. home prices fell 14 percent in the first three months of this year.

The National Association of Realtors says prices were down in all but six of the 50 U.S. states.

Sales of foreclosed homes pushed prices down as banks generally sold repossessed houses at a discount to move them quickly.

A separate report shows the U.S. trade deficit got worse in March, rising more than five percent as the global economic slump cut demand for U.S. exports.

The Commerce Department says the gap between what Americans buy abroad and what they sell to other countries rose to $27.6 billion for the month.

It was the first time in about eight months that the trade deficit has widened.

A more complete picture of the U.S. economy will emerge later this week. On Wednesday Washington publishes information on retail sales, which are closely watched because consumer demand drives about two-thirds of U.S. economic activity. Some analysts expect the figures to show retail sales declining slightly in April - by two-tenths of a percent - which is less than the drop the prior month.

Reports later in the week will look at current and future inflation and some information about the battered manufacturing sector of the economy.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.

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