MMG Weekly | November 13, 2023

A Look Into the Markets

This past week, interest rates held steady and near the best levels in over one month. Let’s look at what happened last week and peek into the week ahead.

Treasury Selling More Debt

Last week, the Treasury Department sold over $100 billion worth of Treasuries, to fund the government. The increase in our deficit spending and subsequent debt downgrade during the summer was a reason for the spike higher in interest rates. So, every time there’s an auction, markets are on edge as to what the appetite will be to purchase these bonds. If buyers do not have a strong appetite to purchase our debt at current interest rates, the Treasury Department must give higher yields or rates to entice buyers to purchase the bonds. And as treasury rates go higher, so do mortgage rates. 

The auction results this week were OK, meaning the Treasury Department was able to sell all the new debt without increasing rates – however, the purchasing demand was less than stellar.

“If the rise in bond yields is sustained, the Fed will have to think about the tightening impact of those credit conditions on economic performance, and would there be dangers of overshooting” – Chicago Fed President Austan Goolsbee.

Fed Officials Soften Tone

A host of Federal Reserve officials were out and about this week. As always, they never speak in unison and say the same thing about monetary policy and economic conditions. However, a common undertone amongst the officials was that higher long-term interest rates have tightened financial conditions and are doing the job of the Fed. For example, with mortgage rates hitting 8% a few weeks ago, housing activity and thus economic activity slowed, thereby removing the need for the Fed to raise rates. As of this moment, the Fed Funds Futures, which prices the probability of Fed rate activity, are pricing in no further rate hikes. This is good news, as the last Fed rate hike was in July and as time passes, the chance of a Fed rate cut increases.

Lower Oil Equals Lower Rates

Oil has dropped to the lowest levels in months, falling beneath $80 per barrel. This, as China and other countries around the globe teeter on the brink of recession. Oil prices move on supply and demand. So as demand slows because economic activity slows, prices go lower. Lower oil prices help lower inflation expectations, which ultimately help long-term bonds like mortgages.

4.50%

The 10-yr Note yield, which ebbs and flows alongside home loan rates, has declined nicely from a recent peak of 5.00%. Watch 4.50% as a floor of yield support which is currently halting any further decline in rates. If the 10-yr Note moves beneath 4.50% that floor will become a ceiling which could help halt an increase in rates.

Bottom Line: Long-term interest rates, like mortgages, have improved nicely from the highest levels in the century. The sideways trading action we witnessed this week is a good sign as the markets try to consolidate the fast gains. We may have very well seen the peak and long-term interest rates, but it will not be a straight move to lower rates ahead.

Looking Ahead: Next week carries a ton of high impact economic readings. The main event will be the consumer price index (CPI).  Recent economic news has shown unemployment starting to rise, and the economy slowing down. The next sign for the Fed to confirm that they are done raising rates could be a soft inflation reading. If this CPI report shows a much-needed decline in inflation (achieved because rents are declining), it may very well confirm the Fed has finished raising rates.

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 6.5% coupon, where currently closed loans are being packaged. As prices go higher, rates move lower, and vice versa.

On the far-right side of the chart, you can see how prices have moved sideways after a nice rise in prices. This highlights the sideways path for rates as we head into this week’s market moving reports.

Chart: Fannie Mae Mortgage Bond (Friday November 10, 2023)

 

Economic Calendar for the Week of November 13 – 17

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.

 

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top