Global central banks continued to add monetary stimulus last week, which was favorable for US bonds. The economic data was roughly neutral. As a result, mortgage rates ended the week a little lower.
On Wednesday, the Bank of Japan (BOJ) announced that it will increase its level of monetary stimulus, following similar recent moves by the Fed and the European Central Bank (ECB). The goal of the central banks is to boost economic growth and to reduce joblessness. The primary tool used by the central banks is bond purchases. The increased demand for bonds, including US mortgage-backed securities (MBS), from central bank purchases has helped push mortgage rates lower.
The housing data released last week continued to show improvement in the sector. August Existing Home Sales rose 8% from July to the highest level since May 2010. August Housing Starts increased 2% from July, and Building Permits for single-family homes rose to the highest level since March 2010. The September NAHB Home Builders confidence index rose for the fifth straight month to the highest level since June 2006.
This week, New Home Sales will be released on Wednesday. The final revisions to second quarter GDP, Durable Orders, and Pending Home Sales will come out on Thursday. Personal Income, Core PCE inflation, and Chicago PMI manufacturing will be released on Friday. Consumer Confidence and Consumer Sentiment will round out the schedule. In addition, there will be Treasury auctions on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday.
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