There were few surprises in the data released this week or in the other economic news. It was a quiet week, and mortgage rates ended a little lower.
One reason that the Fed has been raising the federal funds rate is that inflation has moved higher in recent months. The Fed's favored inflation indicator is the core PCE price index. After holding steady at levels close to 1.5% for nearly a year, core PCE has jumped over the last three months. Friday's release showed that core PCE in May was 2.0% higher than a year ago, the largest annual rate of increase since April 2012.
Gross domestic product (GDP) is the broadest measure of economic growth, and it gets revised multiple times as new information is collected. For the last several years, first quarter GDP has been weaker than the other three quarters for reasons upon which economists disagree. This trend appears set to continue in 2018, as the latest reading for the first quarter showed a small downward revision to 2.0%. Early estimates for second quarter GDP are much higher at around 3.5% to 4.0%.
Recently released data revealed that the disparity between sales of previously owned homes and new homes continued in May. While contracts signed to purchase previously owned homes fell a little from April and were lower than a year ago, contracts signed to purchase new homes jumped 5% from April and were 14% higher than a year ago. A shortage of inventory of previously owned homes in many regions is clearly holding back sales.
Looking ahead, the important monthly Employment report will be released on Friday. As usual, these figures on the number of jobs, the unemployment rate, and wage inflation will be the most highly anticipated economic data of the month. Before that, the ISM national manufacturing index will be released on Monday, and the ISM national services index on Thursday. The minutes from the June 13 Fed meeting also will come out on Thursday. Mortgage markets will close early on Tuesday and will be closed on Wednesday.
source: Mortgage Time Newsletter