With investors focused on the outlook for global economic growth, it was another week of declines in both stocks and mortgage rates. Fed Chair Yellen's comments contained no major surprises and were roughly neutral. Current mortgage rates are not far from the record lows seen in 2012.
The trend continued this week as investors displayed a preference for safer assets. Concerns about the pace of global economic growth caused investors to reduce the level of risk in their portfolios. Stock markets around the world posted another week of large losses. For mortgage rates, however, slower economic growth is good news, as it reduces the outlook for future inflation. Combined with the decline in oil prices, inflationary pressures appear to be contained for a while, and mortgage rates have benefited greatly this year.
While the global economic picture remains clouded, incoming data suggests that economic conditions in the U.S. remain relatively healthy.
Looking ahead, the NAHB Housing confidence index will be released on Tuesday. TheFed Minutes from the December 16 meeting will come out on Thursday. These detailed Minutes provide additional insight into the debate between Fed officials. Housing Starts, PPI, and Industrial Production also will come out on Wednesday. The Consumer Price Index (CPI) will be released on Friday. CPI is the most closely watched monthly inflation report, and it looks at the price change for finished goods which are sold to consumers.