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Bruce Gordon
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Bruce Gordon
For the week of Jun 05, 2023 --- Vol. 21, Issue 22

A Look Into the Markets

This past week interest rates moved lower on optimism the debt ceiling will be lifted and on surprisingly low inflation out of Europe. Let’s discuss what happened and investigate the week ahead.

"Get back, get back / Get back to where you once belonged" by The Beatles

Debt Ceiling Fix Coming 

The House of Representatives and Senate have passed a bill to suspend the U.S. debt limit through the 2024 election. Included in the bill are non-defense spending caps, expansion of work requirements for some food stamp recipients as well as a clawing back of unused COVID-19 relief funds.

This bill now goes to President Biden’s desk for signing before the June 5th deadline, where it is believed the U.S. would no longer have funds to pay its debt.

In response to the optimism, short-term treasury yields like one-month bills moved sharply lower as the fear of default is removed. This decline in yields spread across the entire bond market, with the 10-year note yield moving from 3.80% to 3.60% in the matter of days.

Fed Pause in June

A couple of key Federal Reserve officials spoke this week and suggested the central bank should not raise rates at the next Federal Open Market Committee on June 14th. Why? They are citing the policy lag effect and its uncertain impact. Essentially, the Fed has already raised interest rates from 0.0% to 5.00% in a little over a year, most of which has yet to seep into the economy. With inflation declining, the economy slowing and the banking crisis lingering, it is probably a good time for the Fed to pause.

On Thursday, the inflation reading unit labor costs, within Q1 Productivity, came in well below expectations. This means it is costing less for businesses to produce, which is disinflationary and another reason for the Fed to take a break from rate hikes.

Low Inflation Surprises in Europe

This past week, Germany, Spain, and other countries reported inflation was well below market expectations. As a result, yields in Europe declined, and that helped U.S. yields to move lower as well. If the trend of lower inflation continues here in the states, and in Europe, we should expect rates to continue to decline.

Surprising Job Gains in May

On Friday it was reported that 330k jobs were created in the month of May, well above economists expectations. The unemployment rate ticked up to 3.7%, which still represents a tight labor market. It will be interesting to see what Fed officials say before their quiet period begins next week.

Bottom line: With some of the uncertainty surrounding the debt limit deal lifted and with inflation data cooling, the mortgage market could see a continued ease in borrowing costs.

Looking Ahead

The upcoming week sees just a few economic reports and with the Fed meeting on June 14th there will be a blackout on any Fed speakers leading up to the release of the monetary policy decision.

Economic Calendar

Mortgage-backed security (MBS) prices determine home loan rates. The chart below is a one-year view of the Fannie Mae 30-year 5.5% coupon, where currently closed loans are being packaged. As prices move higher, rates move lower and vice versa.

You can see from the bottom right side of the chart that prices recently bounced off the 2023 figures. This appears to be a classic reversal higher on the heels of the debt ceiling decision, but a lot still must go right before the market gets overly bullish.

Chart: Fannie Mae Mortgage Bond (Friday June 2, 2023)

Economic Calendar for the Week of June 5 - 9

The material contained in this newsletter is provided by a third party to real estate, financial services and other professionals only for their use and the use of their clients. The material provided is for informational and educational purposes only and should not be construed as investment and/or mortgage advice. Although the material is deemed to be accurate and reliable, we do not make any representations as to its accuracy or completeness and as a result, there is no guarantee it is without errors.

As your mortgage professional, I am sending you the MMG WEEKLY because I am committed to keeping you updated on the economic events that impact interest rates and how they may affect you.

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