June 16th, 2008 9:30 AM by Lehel Szucs
This week is moderately busy with four economic reports scheduled to be released. Only one of the four is considered to be of high importance to the markets and mortgage rates. The remaining three are of interest to the markets but likely will not cause a large change in mortgage rates unless they vary greatly from forecasts.
The first report of the week is also the most important. May's Producer Price Index (PPI) will be posted early Tuesday morning. It helps us measure inflationary pressures at the producer level of the economy and is the sister report to last week's Consumer Price Index (CPI). There are two readings of this index, the overall and the core data. The core data is considered to be the more important of the two because it excludes more volatile food and energy prices. A large increase could add fuel to the theory that inflation is a real threat to the economy because the higher prices will likely be passed on to the consumer in the near futur e. This would not be good news for bond prices or mortgage rates since inflation erodes the value of a bond's future fixed interest payments. Rising inflation causes investors to sell bonds, driving prices lower and mortgage rates higher. Analysts are expecting to see an increase of 1.0% in the overall index and a 0.2% rise in the core data.
The second of three reports being posted Tuesday is May's Housing Starts report. This report gives us a measurement of housing sector strength, but is the week's least important. It usually doesn't have a major impact on the bond market or mortgage rates and I see no reason for this month's results to be any different. Analysts are expecting to see a drop in starts of new homes between April and May.
The third and final piece of data scheduled for Tuesday is May's Industrial Production. This report will be released at 9:15 AM ET. It measures output at U.S. factories, mines and utilities, giving us an important mea surement of manufacturing sector strength. If it reveals that production is rising, concerns of manufacturing strength may come into play in the bond market. A decline would indicate that the manufacturing sector is weaker than expected and should help push mortgage rates lower. Current forecasts are calling for an increase of 0.1%.
May's Leading Economic Indicators (LEI) will be posted late Thursday morning. The Conference Board, who is a New York-based business research group, will post this data. It attempts to predict economic activity over the next three to six months. If it shows rapidly rising levels of activity, bond prices will probably drop, pushing mortgage rates higher Thursday morning. But, a weaker than expected reading could lead to lower mortgage pricing. It is expected to show no change from April to May.
Overall, look for Tuesday to be the big day of the week. Not just because it brings the release of three of four reports, but becaus e it brings us the PPI that is considered to be a key inflation reading. I am expecting to see the least amount of movement in rates tomorrow and Friday, unless the major stock indexes stage a considerable sell off or rally. However, I am still not sure that we have seen the end of the recent bond selling. Therefore, I am holding the lock recommendations for the time being.
If I were considering financing/refinancing a home, I would.... Lock if my closing was taking place within 7 days... Lock if my closing was taking place between 8 and 20 days... Lock if my closing was taking place between 21 and 60 days... Lock 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