Stu Hoime, Venture Manager for The Group Guaranteed Mortage, submitted the following report for the week:
National average rate for the week ending November 20th:
30 year fixed: 4.83%
15 year fixed: 4.32%
A highly anticipated speech on Monday by Fed Chief Bernanke on the economic outlook revealed no change in the Fed’s stance on short-term monetary policy. There were also few surprises in the economic data released during the week. The monthly inflation readings continued to show that inflation is not a cause for concern in the short-term. As a result, mortgage rates barely moved during the week, remaining at historically low levels.
The decline in the value of the dollar has received a great deal of attention lately. While Fed officials rarely discuss the value of the dollar, Bernanke assured investors that the Fed is closely watching exchange rates. However, he then reminded investors that the Fed’s dual mandate is to promote full employment and to keep prices stable. According to Bernanke, the value of the dollar is just one of many factors affecting inflation, and the Fed is not concerned by the movement in the dollar so far. With a fragile economy and high a unemployment rate, he suggested that the Fed intends to keep the fed funds rate at very low levels. Tightening monetary policy to strengthen the dollar would hurt the economic recovery and slow job creation. After the speech, the value of the dollar fell to the lowest level since August 2008.
If foreign investors expect the value of the dollar to continue to fall, it may pose a risk for mortgage rates in the future. Foreign investors historically have been major buyers of mortgage-backed securities (MBS). When the dollar falls, the value of US assets to foreign investors in their own currency declines, making US investments less rewarding. With the Fed scaling back its MBS purchases over the next few months, a drop in foreign demand would further pressure yields higher to fill the void left by the Fed.
A wide range of economic data will be released during the holiday-shortened week ahead. Existing Home Sales will come out on Monday. GDP, Consumer Confidence, and the ! FOMC Minutes from the November 4th Fed meeting will be released on Tuesday. Durable Orders, Personal Income, Core PCE inflation, New Home Sales, and Consumer Sentiment will all be packed in on Wednesday. In addition, there will be Treasury auctions on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday. Mortgage markets will be closed on Thursday for Thanksgiving.Copyright @ 2009 MBSQuoteline
The Group Guaranteed Mortgage
Together with Bank of America
2803 East Harmony Road
Fort Collins, CO. 80528