MMG Weekly | May 20, 2024

A Look Into the Markets

This past week interest rates have reached the best levels in over a month. Let’s discuss what happened and what news to watch next week.


Last Wednesday, the highly anticipated Consumer Price Index was released. Back on April 10th, the previous CPI reading was reported hotter than expected and pushed interest rates to the highest levels of the year. As a result, the market was on edge heading into this report.

The good news? The report met expectations, as the headline inflation figure came in at 3.4% year-over-year. With the markets fearful of an even hotter number, the in-line reading gave the financial markets a sigh of relief. Why? If inflation were to re-accelerate, it would further push out a Fed rate cut.

We are not out of the woods yet as it relates to inflation, but this report did offer comfort that the next move from the Fed will indeed be a rate cut at some point. After this reading the chances of a Fed rate cut in September grew larger.

Consumer Slowing Down

Consumer spending makes up nearly two-thirds of our economy. This is important to know when following reports on the health of the consumer as it relates to Inflation, Federal Reserve policy, and interest rates.

Retail sales for April were reported and the reading was poor. Essentially, the consumer spent money on gas and groceries and little else. Moreover, when adjusting retail sales for inflation, the readings were negative, meaning the consumer is not buying more goods, but simply paying more.

Weak economic readings like this are bond-friendly and a big reason why rates improved last week.

Seeing real Retail Sales, or inflation adjusted Retail Sales turn lower has been a precursor to a recession in the past, so this is a report worth following moving forward.

Global Yields Lower

Also helping our interest rates are Central Banks around the globe telling the world that they will be cutting rates. It now appears the European Central Bank and Swiss National Bank are going to cut rates before the United States. This news prompted a decline in rates around the world and when that happens it puts pressure to push rates lower here in the U.S.

Bottom Line: The case for a Fed rate cut sooner has grown, however further rate improvement may only come upon more reports showing inflation is indeed moving lower.

Looking Ahead: Next week the Treasury Department will be selling debt to fund our government. These events always carry risks. With yields or interest rates at the lowest levels in a month, markets will be watching the buying appetite. If it is not good, rates will move higher. The opposite is true.

Also, out next week will be Durable Orders, Consumer Sentiment, and Housing Data.

Mortgage Market Guide Candlestick Chart

Mortgage bond prices determine home loan rates. The chart below is a one-year view of the Fannie Mae 30-year 6.0% coupon, where currently closed loans are being packaged. As prices move higher, rates decline, and vice versa.

If you look at the right side of the chart, you can see how prices have reached the best levels in a month. The bond does have resistance at $101 which will act as a barrier to further rate improvement.

Chart: Fannie Mae 30-Year 6.0% Coupon (Friday, May 17, 2024)


Economic Calendar for the Week of May 20 – 24

John Higgins

NMLS #136061

The material contained in this newsletter has been prepared by an independent third-party provider. The content is provided for use by real estate, financial services and other professionals only and is not intended for consumer distribution. 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, 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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