There were several significant influences on mortgage rates last week including the possible Fed announcement of further action to stimulate the economy, the European Central Bank (ECB) announcing its plans to help stabilize the euro-zone, and the July Jobs Report here in the US. In the end, the effect of these influences was offsetting and mortgage rates ended the week with little change.
Comments two weeks ago from ECB President Draghi about his commitment to do whatever it takes to preserve the European Union (EU) caused stocks to rally and mortgage rates to rise. The lack of details coming from last week’s meeting, however, caused a bit of a reversal. Investors do remain optimistic that ECB support will help bring greater financial stability to Italy and Spain.
Increasing expectations for another round of Quantitative Easing (QE3) here in the US have led to lower mortgage rates. Wednesday’s Fed statement was very similar to the last statement, however, disappointing investors. The Fed acknowledged that economic growth has slowed and that they remain ready to act if necessary. Mortgage rates rose after the release of the statement.
Friday’s Employment report was positive in most areas. Against a consensus forecast of 100K, the economy added 163K jobs in July. The Unemployment Rate unexpectedly edged up to 8.3% from 8.2% last month, however. Given current global economic conditions, most investors will be pleased if the level of monthly job gains remains above 150K. As usual, good news for the economy was not good for mortgage rates.
In contrast to the major events last week, the Economic Calendar will be very light this week. Productivity will be released on Wednesday. The Trade Balance will come out on Thursday. Import Prices will be released on Friday. There will be Treasury auctions on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday.
That’s your “OML” Mortgage Market Update for this week.
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