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Wednesday, November 2, 2016

No Change From Fed

Over the past week, shifting expectations for foreign central banks and headlines about the U.S. election were the main influence on mortgage rates. The U.S. economic data had little impact. Mortgage rates ended the week a little higher. 


As widely expected, the U.S. Fed made no policy changes on Wednesday, and its statement was very similar to the prior one. Investors still think there is roughly a 75% chance for a federal funds rate hike at the next meeting on December 14, nearly unchanged from before the release of the Fed statement. There was little market reaction to the Fed meeting. 


By contrast, recent news from Europe and Japan was negative for global bonds. Due to better than expected European economic data, concerns grew that the European Central Bank (ECB) may see less need to increase its monetary stimulus, particularly its bond purchases. In addition, an official of the Bank of Japan (BOJ) said that the BOJ may not increase its bond purchase program, disappointing some investors. Bond purchases from central banks around the world have helped push global bond yields lower in recent years, so indications that there may be less stimulus in the future caused yields to rise, including U.S. mortgage rates. 

One reason that the U.S. Fed is able to wait longer to tighten monetary policy is that inflation has risen very slowly so far this year and remains below the Fed's target. The recently released core Personal Consumption Expenditures (PCE) price index, the inflation indicator favored by the Fed, was 1.7% higher than a year ago, matching expectations. Core PCE has remained close to current levels all year. According to the Fed statement, Fed officials expect that inflation will rise to their target of 2.0% "over the medium term." 

The U.S. election also has influenced mortgage rates. Generally, news that favors Trump has been positive for bonds and negative for stocks. News that favors Clinton has caused the opposite reaction. 

Looking ahead, the Institute of Supply Management (ISM) Services index will be released on Thursday. The important monthly employment report will be released on Friday. As usual, this data on the number of jobs, the unemployment rate, and wage inflation will be the most highly anticipated economic data of the month. The Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey, or JOLTS, which measures job openings and labor turnover rates, will come out on November 8. The election also may continue to influence mortgage rates. 


This information provided by: The Sanders Young Team, NMLS ID #487525 and #438324
HomeStreet Bank
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