Last week’s economic reporting included readings on inflation, core inflation, and minutes of the Fed’s Federal Open Market Committee meeting held on September 22 and 23. Weekly readings on mortgage rates and jobless claims were also published.
September’s Consumer Price Index rose by 0.10 percent to 0.40 percent. The Core Consumer Price Index for September, which excludes volatile food and fuel sectors, rose by 0.10 percent to 0.20 percent and fell short of the expected reading of 0.30 percent growth.
Feds’ FOMC Meeting Minutes: Policymakers Consider Tapering Securities Purchases
Minutes of the Federal Open Market Committee meeting held September 21 and 22 indicated that policymakers discussed when to taper the Fed’s purchase of U.S. Treasuries and Mortgage-Backed Securities. Opinions were mixed as some policymakers recommended faster tapering of asset purchases and others were concerned about the potentially negative impact on financial markets if the Fed reduced its asset purchases too quickly. No specific dates for tapering asset purchases were set during the current FOMC meeting, but analysts expected the Committee to announce its plan for tapering asset purchases at its next meeting.
FOMC members also discussed inflation and were divided on their forecasts for inflation. While some members expected high inflationary growth in 2022, other FOMC members said that Covid-related bottlenecks in supply chains caused higher inflation in the near term.
Mortgage Rates Rise as Jobless Claims Fall
Freddie Mac reported higher average mortgage rates last week as rates for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages rose by six basis points to 3.05 percent. The average rate for 15-year fixed-rate mortgages rose by seven basis points to 2.30 percent; rates for 5/1 adjustable-rate mortgage rose averaged 2.55 percent and were three basis points higher Discount points averaged 0.70 percent for fixed-rate mortgages and 0.20 percent for 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages.
Initial jobless claims fell to 293,000 new claims filed as compared to the previous week’s reading of 329,000 first-time claims filed. Continuing jobless claims also fell with 2.59 million ongoing claims filed; 2.73 million ongoing claims were filed in the previous week.
This week’s scheduled economic reporting includes readings from the National Association of Home Builders on housing market conditions. Reporting on sales of previously-owned homes, housing starts, and building permits issued are expected; weekly readings on mortgage rates and jobless claims will also be released.