November 16th, 2008 7:01 PM by Lehel Szucs
This week brings us the release of five monthly reports for the markets to digest along with the minutes from the last FOMC meeting. The first report scheduled for release this week is October's Industrial Production tomorrow morning. It gives us a measurement of manufacturing sector strength by tracking output at U.S. factories, mines and utilities. It is expected to reveal a 0.1% decline in output. Stronger levels of production would be considered bad news for the bond market and mortgage rates.
We will get the first of this week's two key inflation readings early Tuesday morning when October's Producer Price Index (PPI) is posted. The PPI measures inflationary pressures at the producer level of the economy. There are two portions of the index that are used- the overall reading and the core data reading. The core data is the more important of the two because it excludes more volatile food and energy prices. If it reveals stronger than expected readings, in dicating that inflationary pressures are rising, the bond market will probably react negatively and should drive mortgage rates higher. If we see in-line or weaker than expected numbers, mortgage rates should fall. Current forecasts are calling for a decline of 1.5% in the overall reading and a 0.2% increase in the core reading.
Wednesday's only data is October's Housing Starts. This data gives us an indication of housing sector strength, but usually does not have a noticeably impact on mortgage rates. I don't expect this month's version to be any different unless it varies greatly from analysts forecast. It is expected to show a decline in starts of new homes.
Also Wednesday is the afternoon release of the minutes to the last FOMC meeting. These may be a major mover of the markets or could be a non-factor, depending on what they say. The key will be concerns over inflation and the Fed's next move. If the Fed members were concerned about inflationary pr essures, we may see the bond market move lower and mortgage rates higher Wednesday afternoon. However, if they indicate a likelihood of another rate cut in the coming months, we should see the bond market rise and mortgage rates drop during afternoon trading.
October's Consumer Price Index (CPI) will be released at 8:30 AM ET Thursday morning. This index is similar to Tuesday's PPI, except it measures inflationary pressures at the more important consumer level of the economy. The overall portion is expected to show a drop of 0.8% while the core data is expected to rise 0.2%.
Overall, look for Tuesday or Thursday to be the most important day of the week with the PPI and CPI reports scheduled for release those days. They are the two most important releases of the week and can individually lead to large swings in the markets and mortgage rates. The FOMC minutes may also heavily influence trading and deserve to be watched also. I think this will be a fa irly active week for mortgage rates, so please maintain regular contact with your mortgage professional.
If I were considering financing/refinancing a home, I would.... Lock if my closing was taking place within 7 days... Float if my closing was taking place between 8 and 20 days... Float if my closing was taking place between 21 and 60 days... Float if my closing was taking place over 60 days from now... This is only my opinion of what I would do if I were financing a home. It is only an opinion and cannot be guaranteed to be in the best interest of all/any other borrowers.
©Mortgage Commentary 2008