Europe Influences U.S. Markets
A hint of a taper in the European Central Bank's (ECB) bond purchase program drove European yields higher this week, and U.S. yields followed. The U.S. economic data caused little reaction. Mortgage rates ended the week higher, but still attractive for mortgage refinance and home purchase. Conventional mortgage rates are hovering around 4%, FHA mortgage , VA mortgage , and USDA mortgage are approximately 3.875% and Jumbo mortgage at 4.25%. FHA 203k mortgage rates approximately 4.25%.
In today's global markets, a change in bond yields in one major region often produces a similar change in other markets. This week, comments from the ECB caused investors to expect tighter monetary policy sooner than expected, which resulted in an increase in bond yields around the world. In particular, ECB President Draghi hinted that the ECB may start to wind down (or taper) its massive bond purchase program relatively soon as the economy improves. The ECB currently buys 60 billion euros (about $68.5 billion) of bonds each month. This added demand from the ECB has helped push global bond yields lower, including U.S. mortgage-backed securities (MBS). As a result, the increased probability that this demand from the ECB will decline was negative for mortgage rates.
In contrast to the ECB, the U.S. Fed is well along the path to tighter monetary policy. The Fed now faces a bit of a dilemma, however. The Fed's stated target for inflation is 2.0%.
While many Fed officials believe that the decline in inflation this year is due to temporary factors, recent comments indicate that some officials would prefer to wait and see if this is true before further tightening monetary policy.
Looking ahead, 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. Before that, the ISM national manufacturing index will be released on Monday. The minutes from the September 17 Fed meeting will come out on Wednesday. These detailed minutes provide additional insight into the debate between Fed officials. The ISM national services index will come out on Thursday. Mortgage markets will close early on Monday and will be closed on Tuesday for the July Fourth holiday.
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