September 5th, 2011
This week brings us the release of only two pieces of economic data, but neither of them is considered to be highly important. In addition to the economic releases, we also have two speaking engagements that may influence the markets and possibly mortgage pricing. The financial and mortgage markets will closed today in observance of the Labor Day holiday, meaning we will not see new mortgage rates until Tuesday morning.
The first release of the week comes Wednesday afternoon. The Federal Reserve will release its Beige Book report at 2:00 PM ET Wednesday. This report details current economic conditions in the U.S. by Federal Reserve regions. It is believed to be a key source of data when the Fed meets for their FOMC meetings and is usually released approximately two weeks prior to each meeting. If it reveals any significant surprises, we may see movement in the markets and mortgage pricing as analysts adjust their theories on the Fed’s next move.
July’s Goods and Services Trade Balance data will be posted early Thursday morning, giving us the size of the U.S. trade deficit. It is expected to show a deficit of approximately $51.5 billion, which would be a decline from June’s $53.1 billion. However, I would consider this the least important of this week’s events, meaning it will likely have little impact on bond trading or mortgage rates unless it varies greatly from forecasts.
Thursday also has the two speeches that we need to watch. The first is at 1:00 PM ET when Fed Chairman Bernanke speaks to the Minnesota Economic Club in Minneapolis. Anytime Mr. Bernanke speaks, there is a potential for his words to cause havoc in the markets. However, I don’t believe he will say anything that we did not see or hear in last week’s FOMC minutes or his speech in Jackson Hole the previous week. Still, he is speaking, so we are listening.
The one that is more likely to have a noticeable impact on the markets and mortgage pricing comes from President Obama Thursday evening. He will speak to the nation via a joint session of Congress at 7:00 PM ET about the economy and the current employment situation. He is looking for support in his ideas to boost economic activity and payroll numbers. It will be interesting to see what ideas he has, but there is little doubt that if anything substantive is proposed, we will see an active morning in the markets Friday. Since he will be speaking after market hours Thursday, his words will influence the international markets before the U.S. markets. That should give us an idea of what to expect Friday morning.
I think many believe that the current situation in Washington makes it very difficult for all parties to quickly pass any type of bill that will really lower unemployment and help the economy gain momentum. Therefore, it is unlikely that Thursday’s speech will unveil a plan that will make everyone happy, but hopefully it will at least get the ball rolling. After the debt ceiling debacle, maybe Washington learned to play a little nicer with each other. We will see.
Overall, this week looks like it may be a little less active for mortgage rates than last week was. With the financial markets closed tomorrow, we only have four days of trading. There is no particular data that is important enough to label its day of release as the most important of the week, but Thursday’s speeches make that day the best candidate. The lack of important economic news may allow the stock markets to heavily influence bond trading and mortgage rates this week. As long as the stock markets do not stage a sizable rally or sell-off, the likelihood of seeing significant changes to mortgage rates before Thursday or Friday morning is fairly minimal.