This past week was jammed packed with news, however, most of the reports came back as expected and rates remain flat.
On Thursday, Retail Sales which were expected to grow, instead contracted by a negative 1.8%. This is the worst Retail Sales number the market has seen in nine years. Even with this report, the market remained flat. Most of this has to do with the anticipation of a trade agreement with China. It seems as if the market is deflecting all news and reports and only keeping an eye on the trade agreement, at least for now.
On Wednesday, the Labor Department releasted the consumer price report, showing modest inflation numbers. The consumer price index increased 1.6% over the past year through January, the smallest increase since June 2017 and lower than the 1.9% year-on-year increase in December. Core CPI, which excludes food and energy, increased by 2.2% year-on-year in January for the third straight month. One of the Federal Reserve targets is 2% inflation as tracked by the core personal consumption expenditures (PCE) price index. The Core PCE index increased 1.9% year-on-year in November and last reached 2% in March 2018, which was the first time since April 2012. PCE price data for December has been delayed to the government shutdown and is scheduled for release on March 1.
Finally, on Friday, retail sales, producer price index and jobless claims all missed forecasts. The most telling report was the retail sales. In December, which is usually the biggest month, retail sales decreased 1.2%, which is the worst in 9 years. Even with these reports coming in worse than anticipated, the market remained flat. Possibly once the trade talks are over, the market will revert back to normal and pay more attention to the economic reports. For now, expect rates to remain flat until we have more news and insight on the China trade agreement.
Remember, rates are back to levels they were at last year at this time, and are still well below the historic average. It's a great time to buy a home!
The Altitude Group
REALTOR® | MCNE
REALTOR® | CNE